The fetal doppler is a handheld ultrasound device used to listen to the fetal heartbeat. Late in the first trimester, midwives and healthcare providers use fetal heartbeat doppler during prenatal visits. However, mothers-to-be may use fetal doppler at home to gain reassurance about their baby’s well-being. Using fetal doppler at home requires some preparation to get accurate readings and a positive experience. In this article, we provide you with practical tips on how to use fetal doppler safely and effectively.
When can you use a fetal doppler?
The baby’s heart starts beating about five to six weeks of pregnancy. At this stage, it is possible to hear fetal heartbeat with the help of transvaginal ultrasound. As regards the use of fetal doppler at home, it is recommended not to use it until 12 weeks of pregnancy. Some women who have given birth early may hear the baby’s heartbeat with at-home Doppler as early as eight weeks. However, when you are a first-time mom, it is better to wait until 12-15 weeks. Every pregnancy is unique and different, so that you can detect the heartbeat earlier or later. To avoid worries and false experiences, make sure to use at home fetal doppler in a proper way.
Using fetal doppler at home can provide expectant parents with reassurance and an unforgettable experience.
How does home doppler work?
The fetal dopplers use ultrasound waves to detect placental and fetal heartbeat. Unlike the ultrasound scan, a home doppler monitor produces only sound without the image. The fetal doppler consists of two parts – the main unit and a probe. The fetal doppler HeartBeats™ by Sonohealth shows the number of heartbeats on the display of the main unit, while others require manual counting. To hear the baby’s heartbeat, it is necessary to place a gell on the probe and move it around the bare abdomen.
Using fetal doppler at home, may help to detect that the baby does not have enough oxygen. In such a case, urgently contact your healthcare provider.
Remember, while use of fetal doppler at home can provide reassurance, it should never replace professional medical care. Always consult your healthcare provider for any concerns or questions you may have during your pregnancy.
Tips on how to use fetal doppler at home
Using a fetal heart doppler at home can be a rewarding and intimate experience for new parents-to-be. To get accurate readings, it is essential to use fetal doppler heart monitor in a proper way. First of all, read the user manual and talk to your healthcare provider. He will explain how to use fetal doppler at home and provide you with additional instructions.
To find out more, read our article on What information fetal doppler can provide you with.
Choose the Right Fetal Doppler
When you are planning to buy fetal doppler, it is crucial to invest in a reliable and high-quality device. Before the purchase, read reviews from other users. It will help you to buy trustworthy product. Also, ask for recommendations from your healthcare provider.
It is recommended to wait until 12 weeks of pregnancy and only then use fetal doppler at home. During the early weeks, it is difficult to detect fetus heartbeat. After 12 weeks of pregnancy, the baby’s heartbeat becomes more distinct and easily detectable.
Find a Quiet and Comfortable Place
Before using at home fetal doppler, find a quiet and comfortable environment where you can relax. It is advisable to lie down on the back or sit in a reclined position to help you get a clear reading.
The gel is essential for the smooth operation of baby doppler. It improves the conductivity and enhances sound transmission. Without the gel, exposed air will interfere with the sound, and static will be caused. Just apply a small amount of ultrasound gel to your abdomen before placing the fetal doppler probe. When you do not have ultrasound gel at hand, you may replace it with:
- Aloe vera
- KY jelly
- Bio oil
- Olive or vegetable oils
- Baby oil
- Coconut oil
- Hand sanitizers
Be Patient and Gentle
Finding the baby’s heartbeat may take some time and several attempts, especially in early pregnancy. Just relax and be patient. Make sure to be gentle and avoid pressing on your abdomen. Move the baby doppler prove slowly until you hear the baby’s heartbeat.
Watch our video, where our doctor explains how to detect baby’s heartbeat.
Use the Doppler Sparingly
Using fetal doppler at home is a great opportunity to connect with your baby and check his/her well-being. However, make sure not to overuse the device. Short sessions one or two times per week are the best options. Talk to your healthcare provider. He will instruct you based on your medical history. In case of any concerns, look for medical advice.
Know When to Seek Help
When you cannot find the baby’s heartbeat, or you notice irregular readings, urgently contact your healthcare provider. Professional medical assessment can provide the reassurance and guidance you need. Normal fetal heart rate ranges from 110 and 160 beats per minute (BPT). The heart tones often change after the activity or contractions.
Check out our article on abnormal fetal heart rate.
Cannot detect fetal heart tones
When you cannot detect fetal heart tones with fetal doppler at home until ten weeks of pregnancy, that’s not always the reason for concern. Usually, it is hard to hear a baby’s heartbeat by around 10-12 weeks. The reasons connected with difficulty in detection of fetal heartbeat may include:
- Tilted uterus. It makes it difficult to detect fetal heart tones;
- Placenta. Its sounds may suppress the fainter sounds of the fetal heartbeat;
- Fat Layer. Sometimes, the abdomen fat layer may act as a barrier to the early fetal heart tones.
When you cannot detect fetal heartbeat close to 12 weeks of pregnancy, contact your healthcare provider. He may use an ultrasound that can detect a fetal heartbeat much earlier.
Things to avoid when using fetal doppler at home
While using fetal doppler at home, try to avoid the next:
Try not to use fetal doppler at home too frequently. Make sure to use baby doppler for several minutes, as prolonged sessions are not recommended. Limit your usage to a few times to prevent unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Relying solely on the fetal heartbeat doppler
While use of fetal doppler at home can provide reassurance, it should not replace regular prenatal check-ups and professional medical care. Always attend your scheduled prenatal visits to monitor your baby’s health and development.
Ignoring irregular readings
When you detect irregular or inconsistent heartbeat readings, urgently seek medical advice for further professional assessment and guidance.
Sharing the doppler with others
Fetal dopplers are designed for personal use only. Do not share it with others, even family members or friends. Each pregnancy is different, and fetal heart doppler may not provide accurate readings for different individuals.
Using it as a diagnostic tool
The at-home fetal doppler is a monitoring device. Do not consider it as a diagnostic tool. If you have any concerns or questions about your baby’s well-being, always consult your healthcare provider for further assistance.
Word from SonoHealth
Using fetal doppler at home can provide expectant parents with reassurance and an unforgettable experience. What’s more, baby doppler creates a prenatal bonding experience for the whole family. By hearing your baby’s heart, you will get closer. Also, pocket fetal doppler is a go-to device for women who have experienced a miscarriage, as it may help them ease their minds by monitoring baby’s heartbeat.
By following these important tips, you can use fetal doppler at home safely and effectively to bond with your baby and gain peace of mind throughout your pregnancy. While a fetal doppler can provide reassurance, it should never replace professional medical care. Seek medical advice in case of any concerns or questions you may have during your pregnancy.
1. How early can you hear heartbeat on doppler?
It is advisable not to use at-home fetal doppler prior to 12 weeks of pregnancy because, at the early stages of pregnancy, it is difficult to detect the fetus’ heartbeat.
2. What is ultrasound gel alternative?
When you do not have an ultrasound gel at hand, you can substitute it with aloe vera, baby oil, coconut oil, moisturizer or cream, KY jelly, oil, or vegetable oils.
3. How often is it safe to use a fetal doppler?
Using fetal doppler at home one or two times per week for several minutes is safe. However, do not reach out for your baby with a doppler every day. Make sure not to overuse the device. Always consult your healthcare provider.
4. What is a normal fetal heart rate on a Doppler?
The normal fetal heart rate ranges from 110 to 160 beats per minute (bpm) and may vary by 5-25 bpm. The baby’s heart rate may change in response to activity and other conditions.
5. What is the difference between a fetal Doppler and a Doppler ultrasound?
The only difference between fetal doppler and ultrasound is the power of emitted waves. Waves from the ultrasound machine are much stronger than waves emitted from the fetal heartbeat doppler.