How Do Dopplers Work?
These battery-operated, handheld instruments are easy to use - place the doppler fetal heartbeat monitor just above your pubic bone and listen, tilting the probe at different angles until you find the amazing sound of your baby's heartbeat.
Usually, parents can hear the fetal heartbeat between the 10th and 12th week of pregnancy but have been known to find it as early as eight weeks. Fetal heart monitors place no stress on your baby so they are safe to use during your pregnancy.
Additionally, some fetal monitors allow you to record your baby's heartbeat. You can download the recorded sounds onto your computer and e-mail it to friends and relatives.
Reading a fetal monitor is also fairly simple. If you are using a digital fetal monitor, then the number of heartbeats per minute will be displayed on a screen.
For most other monitors, you just need to count the number of heartbeats you hear for ten seconds and then multiply that number by six to get the beats per minute. However, for many parents, just hearing the heartbeat is enough.
Where Do I Get One?
Various companies currently sell or rent different types of fetal heart rate monitors. Often, parents find it more convenient to rent a fetal doppler since they can return it when they are done with it.
Rental prices range from $24 US-per-month to $49 US-per-month. Purchasing a doppler can cost around $450 and saves you the trouble of having to rent another doppler for future pregnancies.
Regardless of which type of monitor you rent or purchase, make sure it has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Having FDA approval ensures that the fetal monitor you are using is safe for continuous use throughout your pregnancy.
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