Fetal Doppler

All about the doppler fetal monitor

At one point, a fetal heart monitor was only used in doctors' offices and hospitals, but nowadays, home fetal monitors are gaining in popularity. Mothers-to-be can put their minds at ease by listening to their baby's heartbeat whenever they wish, rather than waiting for their next doctor's appointment.

When it comes to choosing a home fetal heart monitor, a Doppler fetal monitor (also known as a fetal Doppler or Doppler fetal distress monitor) is a smart choice. Doppler ultrasound and other types of fetal Doppler equipment have been trusted by doctors for years, and a Doppler fetal monitor is no different.

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How Does a Doppler Fetal Monitor Work?

Doppler fetal monitors are different than acoustic fetal monitors in that they produce electronic audio output rather than acoustic. This means that many people can listen to the heartbeat at the same time, rather than having only one person listen in.

Aside from this, there is essentially no difference – the monitors detect and display the baby's heartbeat and may have the option for you to make a digital recording of the fetal heart rate, just like any other digital fetal monitor.

Using a Doppler Fetal Monitor

A Doppler fetal monitor consists of a base and a fetal stethoscope or "fetal wand." The base typically has a digital readout screen where you can see the fetal heart rate. To use the monitor, first, assume a comfortable position lying down or in a chair. Apply the ultrasound gel to the probe of the Doppler wand and to your stomach. Starting at the area between your belly button and pubic bone, move the probe slowly from the middle of your stomach outward. Do not let the probe lose contact with your skin as this can affect the results.

Keep moving until you hear the sound of your baby's heartbeat. If you hear static, you may need to apply more gel to your stomach and the wand. The heart rate should display on the monitor and you should be able to hear your baby's heartbeat.

If you're interested in using a Doppler, you have two options: buying a device outright or going with a Doppler fetal heart rate rental model. Typically a fetal Doppler rental is the smarter choice because you will only be using it for a specific amount of time, which may not make it worth the $400 price tag.