Doppler for pregnancy: 10 secret tips for finding heartbeat

doppler for pregnancy

To hear baby’s heartbeat is the most anticipated moment for expecting parents. Doppler for pregnancy is a safe and non-invasive device that helps to monitor the fetal heartbeat from the comfort of the home. It allows the mother-to-be to check fetal heart rate between prenatal check-ups, providing reassurance. Extraneous sounds, like the placenta or mother’s heartbeat, may confuse first-time users when they have not used fetal doppler before. Here are ten essential tips to help parents-to-be successfully find and listen to their baby’s heartbeat and differentiate it from other noises.

What is a fetal doppler?

Doppler for pregnancy is a portable ultrasound tool that uses sound waves to detect fetal heartbeat. It is better to start using at home fetal doppler during the second trimester ( weeks 13-28 of pregnancy).

The optimal time to start using Doppler for pregnancy depends on several factors, including the stage of your pregnancy and your individual circumstances.

Even fetal dopplers at OB’s office can detect fetal heartbeat after 12 weeks. So, when you cannot hear a heartbeat during the first weeks of the pregnancy, do not panic. To learn more about home doppler and when it is better to start using it, read our article.

Reasons to start using doppler for pregnancy

Fetal doppler heart monitor provides parents with a vast number of benefits as it gives invaluable peace of mind during the pregnancy. It ensures early bonding, real-time monitoring, and a sense of security that can reduce anxiety and stress. Additionally, fetal doppler monitor:

  • Provides reassurance between check-ups (Remember that doppler for pregnancy does not replace appointments)
  • increases bonding between father and baby
  • increases bonding between the baby and sibling
  • allows you to record irregularities and play it back to your doctor (depending on doppler models)

How to use fetal doppler at home?

When you are wondering, how to use doppler for pregnancy properly, here is our short overview (to learn in more detail, read our article and watch the below video, where Dr. Carolina Melgar explains and shows everything step by step).

First of all, the expecting mother needs to find a comfortable place to lie down. The next step is to put some amount of ultrasound gel on the belly and probe of the baby doppler, as it enables better skin contact for the doppler probe. Once you turn on the pregnancy doppler, slowly move the probe from the pubic bone up to the belly button. When the fetal heartbeat is detected, you can see beats per minute (BPM) on the screen.

Tips for finding fetal heartbeat with Doppler for pregnancy

For first-time users, finding a fetal heartbeat can be confusing. However, with the help of our tips, you will be able to detect your  baby’s heartbeat in no time.

#1 Move from the ‘bottom to the top”

When you cannot detect the baby’s heartbeat, it is better to start with the probe around the middle of the pubic bone. Be sure to go slow and move the probe from the ‘bottom to the top”. You may hear a lot of different noises; do not take them to the fetus’s heartbeat. Make sure that your moves are gentle, do not press down on the probe.

at home fetal doppler

#2 Use ultrasound gel

Once you are going to use doppler for pregnancy, make sure that you have the ultrasound gel. Using it is crucial as it enhances the efficiency and accuracy of ultrasound scans. The gel serves as a conductive medium, facilitating the transmission of ultrasound waves between the transducer and the skin. The gel optimizes signal quality by eliminating air gaps and ensuring direct contact, allowing for more precise sound. In essence, ultrasound gel is an essential component when using baby doppler. It also improves mother-to-be comfort by preventing friction and reducing the risk of skin irritation.

#3 Use doppler for pregnancy on a Full Bladder

Using a Doppler for pregnancy on a full bladder can enhance the clarity of fetal heartbeat detection during the early stages. When the bladder is full, it provides a natural acoustic window, allowing for better sound wave transmission. This results in improved signal quality and increased chances of successfully capturing the fetal heartbeat.

fetal doppler monitor

Also, it makes it easier for the Doppler fetal monitor to pick up the distinct sound of the baby’s heart. It’s essential to strike a balance! While a full bladder can enhance the effectiveness of the Doppler, excessive discomfort should be avoided. Healthcare providers often recommend drinking an adequate amount of water before the procedure to achieve the optimal balance between a comfortably full bladder and the enhanced acoustic environment it provides.

#4 Overweight moms-to-be should use 2MHz probe

When considering ultrasound examinations for women who are overweight, the choice of a 2MHz probe becomes important for optimal imaging. The 2MHz probe operates at a lower frequency, making it well-suited for penetrating deeper tissue layers, including those found in individuals with higher body mass. Unlike higher-frequency probes, the 2MHz variant can effectively overcome the additional tissue attenuation caused by excess weight, providing clearer and more detailed imaging.

By tilting the device gently and exploring different angles, parents-to-be can enhance their chances of successfully capturing the rhythmic sound of the baby’s heartbeat.

#5 Get the difference between mum’s and baby’s heartbeat

To differentiate baby’s heartbeat from that of expecting mothers while using doppler for pregnancy, it is necessary to pay attention to the distinct rhythm and rate. Once you detect beats within 60-80 beats per minute (bpm), the mother’s heartbeat will likely be picked up. However, if the beats register between 120-180 bpm, it strongly indicates the baby’s heartbeat.


fetal doppler to relive stress in pregancy

Be attentive to substances like caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Their potential influence may elevate the baby’s heart rate. By keeping these simple rules, you may quickly find the fetus’s heartbeat and confidently discern it from the maternal, ensuring accurate and reliable assessments of the baby’s well-being.

#6 What does the whooshing sound mean?

While using doppler for pregnancy at home is relatively easy, it is necessary to listen to specific sounds to interpret the information it provides accurately. The at home fetal doppler produces various sounds depending on its placement. A distinct “whooshing” sound typically points to either the placenta or maternal movement.

It’s crucial not to misinterpret the “whooshing” as the baby’s heartbeat. This particular sound does not signify the rhythmic pulsations associated with a fetal heartbeat. Instead, it indicates the presence of other elements within the womb, primarily the placenta or maternal movement.

#7 Study the Sounds

Understanding the sounds the doppler for pregnancy produces is crucial for expectant parents. To successfully find a baby’s heartbeat, it is vital to learn how to differentiate it from other sounds like placenta, mum’s heartbeat, or movements. The most effective method is to study and familiarize oneself with the typical auditory cues through online resources (Watch the above video, where Dr. C.Melgar explains what each sound means). This video with Doppler for pregnancy readings offers valuable insights.

Many describe the baby’s heartbeat as akin to a galloping horse’s rhythmic sound, which has a unique and recognizable pattern. By actively engaging in this auditory learning process, expectant parents can enhance their ability to discern the baby’s heartbeat from surrounding sounds, fostering a more informed and confident prenatal monitoring experience.

#8 Choose the right time

Once you decide to use doppler for pregnancy, choosing the right time to get a compelling experience is essential. The optimal time for baby doppler use is often in the morning or when the baby is more active. The morning can be advantageous as the body is typically well-rested, and the baby may exhibit increased movement, making it easier to detect the heartbeat.

By strategically timing the use of the fetal Doppler, parents can maximize their chances of capturing the precious sound of their baby’s heartbeat, fostering a deeper connection and providing a reassuring experience. Whether it’s the tranquility of the morning or a moment when the baby is naturally more active, selecting the right time creates an optimal setting for this intimate and joyous aspect of prenatal bonding.

fetal doppler to relive stress in pregancy
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#9 Experiment with angles

Experimentation with the angle is encouraged during the process. Tilt the Doppler for pregnancy slightly in different directions to discover the optimal detection of the heartbeat.

The baby’s position in the womb can vary, and the optimal angle for fetal Doppler use may change accordingly. By tilting the device gently and exploring different angles, parents-to-be can enhance their chances of successfully capturing the rhythmic sound of the baby’s heartbeat. This technique is precious in early pregnancy when the baby is smaller, and finding the optimal position can be more challenging.

This simple yet effective tip contributes to a more rewarding experience of monitoring the baby’s heartbeat during the precious months of pregnancy.

#10 Consult with your healthcare provider

When you are using Doppler for pregnancy for the first time, seeking guidance from healthcare providers becomes an invaluable step in ensuring a safe and practical experience. If at any point you encounter difficulties or uncertainties while using fetal Doppler at home, reaching out to your healthcare provider is not just advisable but crucial.

Healthcare professionals possess the expertise to offer insights into the proper use of fetal Doppler, addressing any concerns or questions you may have. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances, ensuring that the device is utilized in a manner that aligns with both safety protocols and your individual needs.

Word from SonoHealth

Remember, using a Doppler at home is a wonderful way to bond with your baby and monitor its well-being. However, balancing this excitement with responsible and informed use is crucial. If you have concerns or difficulties at any point, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider for professional guidance. Enjoy the journey of connecting with your little one and relishing the magical sound of their heartbeat.

Consulting with healthcare providers contributes to a comprehensive approach to prenatal care. It fosters open communication, allowing for the exchange of information and reassurance.

Doppler for pregnancy FAQs

1. Is it hard to find baby heartbeat with Doppler?

It is advisable to start using doppler for pregnancy starting from 12 weeks. During the first trimester, it is hard to detect fetal heartbeat because the baby is too small. In the early stages, healthcare providers usually use ultrasound.

2. Can I hear my own heartbeat with a fetal Doppler?

While using fetal doppler at home, you can hear various sounds, including your heartbeat, placenta, and movements.

3. Where to buy fetal doppler?

A wide range of dopplers is presented on the market. When you want to buy the best fetal doppler, choose only reliable and trustworthy companies whose products are known for their reliability, ease of use, and adherence to industry standards. Purchasing doppler for pregnancy from SonoHealth ensures a quality product and peace of mind in knowing that you are investing in a reputable brand dedicated to supporting the well-being of expectant parents.

4. Where to place fetal doppler?

Start detecting fetal heartbeat by putting the baby Doppler probe on the lower abdomen, near the pubic bone. Then, tilt the probe, keeping contact between the skin and the probe, until you hear a galloping sound — the fetal heart rate.

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