One major cause of anxiety among mothers to be is not feeling the baby kick as often as they are used to. A few years ago, the only way to ease this anxiety was to have the fetal heart rate checked in the OB’s office as soon as possible. But thanks to technology, mothers can now check the heart rate of their soon to be born babies at home and as often as they like. Hearing the heartbeat of your unborn baby gives you reassurance that everything is okay and gives you peace. There are several different types of fetal heart monitors in the market today. You however need to consider several things when choosing the best Fetal Doppler for early pregnancy and this review will help you make an informed a decision.
A quick comparison table: Best Fetal Doppler for early pregnancy
|Recommended fetal age
|Womb music heartbeat Baby monitor by Wusic
|Two pairs of earphones
LED light indicator
Personalised lullaby album
|8 to 10 weeks
|Sonoline B baby heartbeat monitor
|Inbuilt speaker; hence no headphones
9 volt batteries
|8 to 10 weeks
|AngelSounds Heartbeat Baby monitor by Medi-K
|2 sets of earphones
9 volt battery
|12 to 14 weeks
What you need to know about fetal monitoring during pregnancy
How does a fetal Doppler work?
Before making the decision to purchase the best fetal heartbeat monitor for home use, it is important to first understand how it works.
Fetal dopplers are handheld devices that pregnant women can use to listen to the heart rate of their babies right in the comfort of their homes.
These portable Dopplers work based on the Doppler Effect which was developed by Christian Doppler in 1842. They send short pulses of high frequency ultrasound waves which pass through into your baby in the womb. In the womb, the waves encounter your baby’s heartbeat afterwhich they are reflected back to the Doppler where the heartbeat is converted into sound. This sound is then amplified by the device and you begin to hear the heartbeat.
Scientifically, once the ultrasound waves are reflected back to the device, the concept of Doppler Effect is used to calculate the shift in frequency and wavelength thereby converting the signal into heart beat. To hear the heartbeat, fetal heart rate monitors’ come with earphones that you connect to hear the sound.
Are fetal dopplers safe for the baby?
Fetal heartbeat dopplers have been approved for use at home by the FDA since they use low emission ultrasound technology. This means that they are safe for the baby. For this reason, it is important you ensure that you purchase an FDA approved fetal Doppler for early pregnancy.
However, physicians argue that pregnant moms should not use prenatal heartbeat monitors without the approval of the doctor. They should also not be used as a replacement for medical consultation.
Are fetal dopplers safe to use daily?
According to medical professionals, fetal doppler for early pregnancy should not be used on a daily basis. This is based on the fact that they use similar technology to ultrasound, which has not yet been proven safe or dangerous. So to be on the safe side, it is important to minimise using a fetal Doppler everyday.
When should I start fetal heart monitoring at home?
Pregnancies are different and so are our bodies. Some moms-to-be may be able to hear the heartbeat of their babies as early as 8 weeks while other may have to wait up to 14 weeks.
Professionals therefore recommend starting to use a fetal heart rate Doppler at around 12 weeks.
What should the fetal heart rate range typically be?
Normal fetal heart rate ranges between 120 and 160 beats per minute (bpm) but varies throughout the pregnancy. For instance, at 10 weeks you may find that your baby’s fetal heart rate is about 170 beats per minutes and may reduce to 130bpm during the last days of pregnancy.
You are able to differentiate your baby’s heartbeat from your own because it is much faster than yours. You however have to pay attention when monitoring because the signal may be masked by other noises like baby movement and flow of blood in your blood vessels; thus giving an inaccurate heartbeat range.
Here are our 3 best fetal Doppler for early pregnancy
The best rated fetal Doppler
Womb music heartbeat Baby monitor by Wusic
Womb music heartbeat baby monitor by Wusic is so far the best rated fetal Doppler for early pregnancy due to the fact that it is able to detect even the slightest sound of your baby’s heartbeat from as early as 8 weeks. My friend used this Doppler during her first pregnancy and she was able to detect her baby’s heartbeat at 8 weeks.
This Doppler does not only help you to bond with your unborn baby but also entertains you. It comes with a personalised lullaby album that you can customize to sing your baby’s name. This will help your baby to know who she or he is even before coming into the world.
Majority of expectant moms who purchase this fetal heartrate monitor state that it is very easy to use. This because it comes with an LED light that helps to indicate when the Doppler is switched on. You can also turn the volume on or off with a lot of ease.
Another reason why this Doppler is rated the best is that it comes with two pairs of earphones. So you and your partner can listen to your baby’s heartbeat at the same time which encourages bonding.
Other than heartbeat, you can also listen to the baby’s hiccups and kicks using the Womb music Doppler.Pros
- It is very simple and easy to use
- Produces sound with utmost clarity
- It is non-invasive and safe
- Compact size; hence very portable
- Does not have digital display
The best fetal doppler for plus size women
The Sonoline B Heartbeat Baby monitor
The Sonoline B Heartbeat Baby monitor is the best for plus size women. Plus size moms-to-be may find it difficult to hear their babies heart early in their pregnancy but with the Sonoline B fetal Doppler, most have reported hearing the heart beat as early as 10 weeks.
One important feature that moms-to-be like about this Doppler is that it has an built in speaker unlike most Dopplers that have earphones. This means that you can listen to the baby’s heartbeat together with the dad and the siblings.
Another key feature is that it has a digital display which shows your baby’s heart rate in beats per minute (BPM). It also allows you to record the sounds including hiccups and kicks that you can save in your computer.
Also unlike most of the Dopplers, Sonoline B comes with a pair of batteries, lubricating gel and a user manual.Pros
- Very sensitive. It can detect the baby’s heart beat from as early as 8 weeks
- It is very safe to use
- Combat and light in weight
- The audio sound is very clear
- Easy to control the volume
- BPMs tend to fluctuate a lot making it hard to get an accurate BPM reading
Watch video of a mom-to-be listening to her baby’s heartbeat at home using the Sonoline B fetal doppler
The best cheap fetal Doppler
AngelSounds Heartbeat Baby monitor by Medi-K
AngelSounds Heartbeat Baby monitor by Medi-K will give you the best experience when listening to your baby’s heartbeat and at a very affordable price compared to the rest.
It has similar features to the Womb Music fetal Doppler reviewed above except that it is cheaper. This includes two sets of earphones and two audio ports, recording cable, 9 volt battery, and sensor unit.
In addition, it has a sound amplification feature that allows you to hear even the slightest baby movements, heartbeat, kicks, and hiccups during the early stages of pregnancy.
It also allows you to record the baby’s heartbeat and movements and save them to share with family and friends.Pros
- It is very portable since it is light in weight
- Safe and non-invasive
- Comes with a life time warranty
- The baby’s heartbeat is not quite clear before the 14th week of pregnancy
- Does not have a digital display for counting the baby’s BPM.
How to use a fetal Doppler for early pregnancy
- Lie down on your back on a flat surface and expose your abdomen
- Apply a generous amount of ultrasound gel on your abdomen and some on the Doppler probe as well. Many people wonder whether it is important to use this gel. The answer is YES, you need to apply the gel so as to reduce static and enhance skin contact so that the Doppler can detect the sound waves easily.
- Place the Doppler probe over the gel on your abdomen near the pubic area, turn on the fetal Doppler and wear the earphones.
- Gently start sliding the Doppler while ensuring that you cover every part of your bump so as to find where your baby is hiding.
- You will know that you have found your baby’s heartbeat once you hear sounds through the earphones and the Doppler reads 120 bpm or higher. As mentioned earlier, the heartbeat will be much faster than your normal heartbeat and you may even miss it during your first trial.
- Once done, clean your fetal Doppler probe carefully by wiping off the gel with a dry cloth and let it dry in the open air.
LynnLynn is a freelance writer, a wife, and a mother of two beautiful kids. Lynn started Infant Empire with the aim of making parenting easier for fellow mums and dads. She believes the parenting tips provided here will be of great help to all parents.
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