How often should you use the doppler?

Fetal dopplers are safe to use at home, without the help of a certified professional. However, it is important to make sure that you are using an FDA-approved doppler.

And don’t use your doppler too much, either. Though ultrasound is safe for baby, you don’t want to take any chances. Try to stick to no more than two or three ten minute exams each week.

When to Monitor Baby’s Heartbeat

You can begin to monitor your baby’s heartbeat anytime after the 10th week of pregnancy. However, it may be difficult for you to hear the beat before the 12th week. You can continue listening to your baby’s heartbeat right up until your due date.

Using a Fetal Doppler

Detecting baby’s heartbeat is not always an easy thing, so here are some tips on how to perform a successful exam. Remember, you may not hear baby’s heartbeat on the first try, so remain patient and keep trying.

  • Read all instructions included with your fetal doppler. Many fetal dopplers come with an audio recording of a baby’s heartbeat. Listen to this prior to your exam, so you are familiar with how your baby’s heartbeat may sound.
  • Turn your fetal doppler on. Check the display to make sure that it’s working.
  • Apply lots of ultrasound gel to the face of the doppler’s probe and to your belly. This ultrasound gel will help the doppler glide more easily, and will help pick up your baby’s heart rate.
  • Lie down or sit in a comfortable chair.
  • Place the doppler probe on your abdomen, just below your belly button but above your pubic bone.
  • Begin to move the probe slowly, starting at the middle of your stomach. Rock the probe gently, back and forth, making sure not to miss any part of your belly.
  • Be sure to keep the probe in contact with your skin at all times, in order to get the best amplification possible. You may hear static on the machine. If so, apply more ultrasound gel.

Hearing The Heartbeat

Your baby’s heartbeat may sound much faster than you at first expected. The fetal heartbeat can be anywhere between 120 and 180 beats per minute (bpm); this is much faster than our own heartbeats.

Many women describe their babies’ heartbeats like the sound of a galloping horse. If your fetal doppler has a display screen, the number of beats per minute should appear here.

If not, count the number of beats you hear in the span of ten seconds, then multiply this number by six. This will give you your baby’s heart rate in beats per minute.

Table of Contents
1. Checking the Heartbeat
2. How to use a doppler
3. Tips to hear baby's heart
4. Monitoring baby during labor
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