Why You Need a Fetal Doppler: 4 Eye-Opening Reasons
Have you used a fetal doppler yet?
If you’re new to the idea of fetal dopplers or are contemplating getting one, we think you’ll be convinced after reading this post.
Fetal dopplers are baby heartbeat monitoring devices that allow you to listen to your baby’s heartbeat through headphones or a speaker. Usually, this special activity only happens during ultrasounds. Now, you can hear your baby almost anytime and anywhere.
Wondering how it works? After placing ultrasound gel on your belly, you use a probe to glide over the area. When a movement is detected, you’ll be able to hear it and the device will show a heart rate. With practice, you’ll be able to tell which sound is your baby’s heartbeat.
Although fetal dopplers do not replace medical care, using one has many benefits from simply easing your anxiety to possibly saving your baby’s life.
In this post, we’ll outline the X major reasons why every expecting mother should own a fetal doppler.
Can Detect Complete Atrioventricular Block (CAVB)
Every year, about 120,000 pregnant women carry an antibody called anti-SSA. In 4% of positive pregnant women, this antibody causes complete atrioventricular block (CAVB). CAVB is irreversible and kills 31% of affected babies in utero or in their first year of life.
The good news is that if CAVB is caught in the “emergent” state (when irregular rhythm is detected) it can be treated. However, the problem is that the emergent state develops in 24 hours—meaning it’s usually not caught on a weekly echocardiogram.
A 2016 pilot project study found that fetal dopplers can help anti-SSA-positive mothers detect this emergent state—thereby saving their baby. Researchers taught 125 positive mothers how to use a fetal doppler two times each day. If they detected an irregularity or could not hear their baby’s heartbeat, they were told to contact their doctor immediately.
Two mothers who had normal weekly check-up results later discovered an irregularity using a fetal doppler at home. The irregularity detected was in fact caused by emergent CAVB. These women were able to seek medical attention immediately.
If these two women had not used a fetal doppler, they wouldn’t know they were in emergent CAVB state; wouldn’t have sought help and their babies may not have survived.
“Being able to listen to my son’s heartbeat at home every day was a relief and truly a blessing,” a mother who participated in the study told Medical Xpress.
“Participating in the study was an invaluable experience, and I took great comfort in knowing that if my son developed heart block while I was pregnant, his life could be saved. Every parent should have the same opportunity.”
According to researchers, participants found that owning a fetal doppler decreased stress. They also said they’d use the device again in future pregnancies.
One of the most highly reported benefits of using a fetal doppler is that it reduces a mother’s worry. Since pregnancy complications can occur without a mother even knowing, some women constantly stress over whether their baby is okay.
That worry can be amplified if a woman has experienced a miscarriage. The slightest change in their body can make some women panic, thinking they are experiencing another loss.
For example, Olivia Hinebaugh wrote in an article on Romper.com that after having a miscarriage, she experienced spotting in a subsequent pregnancy. In some cases, spotting can be a sign of miscarriage. For many women who have experienced a pregnancy loss, this could cause panic.
If you feel like this, unfortunately, your only sense of relief is a check-up at the doctors or an ultrasound. However, fetal dopplers can provide a similar stress relief without even leaving home.
Fortunately, in Olivia’s case, spotting did not signal loss.
“I was able to hear the heartbeat at home at eight weeks pregnant, after I had some spotting, and it was a huge comfort to me,” she wrote.
It’s important to note that many mothers need to wait until the 12th week to hear a heartbeat. Fetal dopplers also do not replace routine checkups or medical tests in the case of a suspected emergency.
“After losing our first son in a stillbirth at 24 weeks, we decided to get a Doppler when we found out we were pregnant with our second child. It’s so reassuring to hear his heartbeat and know that he’s done no well! I highly recommend it for expecting parents,” said a fetal doppler reviewer.
If you’re at a higher risk for pregnancy complications, using a fetal doppler can provide the reassurance you need between checkups. These decreased stress levels can also be beneficial for your baby. Studies show that an expecting mother’s stress can make a baby more likely to become obese. It can also affect the immune system and make preterm birth more likely. To read more about the effect stress has on pregnancy, click here.
If your partner works full-time, it may be difficult for him to attend your appointments. He may miss out on the opportunity to see your baby on an ultrasound screen or hear about his or her development.
He may also simply wish to feel more connected. Since the baby is growing inside you, you can feel the kicks and movements. However, it’s difficult for him to bond with the baby before it arrives. Since not a lot has changed in his life yet, he may still feel that becoming a parent is surreal.
With a fetal doppler, your partner can be more involved. Hearing a heartbeat will make becoming a father feel more real.
“My husband is unable to attend my monthly appointments, so it’s great to have a way that he can listen as well,” said a BabyDoppler.com reviewer.
If you already have children, they can start to get used to the idea of a baby sibling. This can trigger healthy discussions about what they should expect and how they feel about an expanding family. The experience of hearing a baby can be a fun bonding experience for the entire family. It will make the miracle and magic of pregnancy accessible to all of your loved ones.
“I love my Doppler. I bought it so I can hear the heartbeat whenever I wanted to and also so my children and family could,” said another reviewer.
Easy to Learn How to Use Correctly
Some healthcare professionals recommend against using a doppler because they believe expecting mothers aren’t properly trained to use them. For this reason, they worry that a mother may mistake the sounds of gas or moving blood for a heartbeat. They argue that this can cause unnecessary worry or a false sense of reassurance. However, learning how to properly use a fetal doppler is not difficult. With proper knowledge and practice, most expecting mothers are able to tell the difference between sounds.
“I personally felt very confident that I could tell the difference between the galloping little heart of fetus and the slower whooshing sounds of my own heartbeat,” mother Olivia Hinebaugh wrote in an article on Romper.com.
Mothers who have bought their device from Babydoppler.com also comment on the ease of use.
“I was afraid to buy a doppler, because I didn’t want to cause myself unneeded anxiety if I couldn’t find the baby, or use it properly. It has been so easy to use that it actually has relieved much of my anxiety! I would recommend it to anyone!” said a user in a review.
Tips on learning how to properly use a fetal doppler:
- First and foremost, read the instructions that come with your specific doppler.
- Watch videos on YouTube of mothers using a fetal doppler. If you make watching these videos a habit, over time you should learn what a heartbeat sounds like.
- Read our instruction page and watch the video we’ve included.
- Confused between your heartbeat and the babies? Your baby’s heartbeat will be a lot faster. Yours will be around 80 bpm and the baby’s will be around 180 bpm.
- Confused between your baby’s heartbeat and the sound of placenta? A baby heartbeat will sound like a galloping horse. Placenta is more of a whooshing sound.
- Using a fetal doppler obsessively, especially before 12 weeks, may trigger anxiety instead of preventing it. After 12 weeks, it’s ideal to use the device a few times per week to twice daily.
- For more tips on using a fetal doppler, see this post.
- If you have any questions about using our fetal dopplers, you can always contact us at 1-800-590-2767.
If you suspect something is wrong, follow your intuition and contact your doctor. Fetal dopplers do not diagnose medical issues and do not replace checkups.
Have you used a fetal doppler? If you have, comment below on your experience. If you have pregnant friends, share this post with them so they can reap the benefits, too!
P.S. Wondering where to buy these amazing devices? We’ve got you covered. Babydoppler.com sells several high-quality fetal dopplers at affordable and varying price points. Having trouble choosing one? We’ve made a comparison chart to guide you.