Being pregnant is arguably one of the most significant events that can happen in life. As your baby develops, you will notice many significant changes to your body, which signify the birth of your baby is looming ever closer.
Eventually you will feel your baby moving around and kicking you, which can be a rewarding experience for many expectant mothers. During this time many mothers find it quite natural to talk to their baby, massage their bellies and even play songs and using a fetal doppler is a relatively modern addition allowing you to have another type of bond with your infant.
On the flip side, many mothers naturally become incredibly anxious during this period and find themselves constantly worried about their little one. This is especially true for mothers who may have suffered adverse events in the past, such as a failed pregnancy. Therefore, a fetal doppler provides the reassurance many parents are looking for.
What is a Fetal Doppler?
Dopplers, also termed baby heartbeat monitors allow you and your child to start building a bond, as well as providing the peace of mind many mothers looks for, they allow you to listen to their first sounds. This includes listening to their tiny hearts start beating and as well as other sounds they may make such as kicks and hiccups, which can be an incredibly exciting and unforgettable event.
Our Top Picks
Heartbeat Baby Monitor by Medi-K
The Angel Sounds baby monitor by Medi-K is one of the most popular best fetal heart monitors available and this model, in particular, is ideal for the earlier stages of pregnancy. This cute and compact device is the second innovation and latest model from the trusted brand and allows you to listen to a variety of common sounds unborn babies make, such as hiccups, movements and the obvious one – their heartbeat.
The newest model has improved amplification due to an updated sound sensor helping you to pick up even the most inconspicuous sounds from your little one. The portable design is palm-sized and therefore ideal for traveling with and listening to your baby on demand.
What makes this baby monitor stand out from many rivals is that it can pick up a babies heartbeat from the 14th week, which is at least 2 weeks earlier than many others.
It’s simple to use, you simply place the device on your tummy using lubricating gel for best results and listen to any sounds your baby makes via the headphones provided. Ideally, you will want to find a quiet room to do this where you won’t be disturbed by any other background noises.
Two sets of headphones are provided, which allow both mom and dad to share the experience together. It also includes a data cable that you can connect to your computer or devices and record your babies sounds in both MP3 and WAV format; this allows you to treasure them and easily share the latest baby updates with family and friends.
BundleTumble BabyBlip Baby Sound Amplifier
This baby Doppler is another popular model with a reputation for accuracy and a beautiful, practical design. The two-tone color scheme, heart detailing make for a charming take on a classically boring design, while the oval shape of the device means it’s easy to place in the palm for a comfortable and no-fuss experience.
The Bundle Tumble babyblip is an extremely accurate monitor, allowing you to hear your baby’s heartbeat clearly and loudly. It’s also equipped with two audio jacks, allowing for two people or both parents to listen in at the same time.
One of the main concerns people have is that there is so much choice and so many baby monitors with a bad reputation for offering poor sound and audio clarity. This is the last thing you want at points when all you want is to hear your baby. That’s why it’s worth investing in an accurate Doppler such as the Bundle Tumble – it’s been around for a while, stood the test of time and as a result has an excellent reputation.
It can detect the heartbeat even if you are lying down or standing. And it can be used with or without lubrication – although it is recommended to avoid static interference.
Thankfully, it comes with a volume control, so if your stomach starts rumbling you can always adjust it via the knob.
The BundleTumble fetal Doppler requires a 9v battery for power and a single battery should last you for a week that is unless you do nothing else but listen to your bundle of joy getting busy!
SonoLine B Heartbeat Monitor
The SonoLine by BabyDoppler features a built-in screen and speakers allowing you to both read the heart rate and hear it at the same time, providing even more comfort to anxious parents. The speakers also have volume control, so you can hear the heartbeat nice and loud.
The SonoLine Doppler can be used from 12 weeks of your pregnancy; however, depending on a range of factors it can take up until the 16th week to start picking up your baby’s heartbeat. In certain circumstances, it is possible to detect a baby’s heartbeat from 8 weeks onwards, but this is in ideal conditions and will depend on a range of factors, but as your baby develops more their heartbeat will be much easier to detect, hence why it is best to use a doppler from the 12th week.
This Doppler comes in a neat little kit that includes an instruction manual, batteries and lubricating gel, meaning its ready to use as soon as it arrives, helping you to save the time and money otherwise having to source them separately.
The device features a standard jack so is compatible with typical headphones if you would prefer a more personal experience, alternatively, you can listen via the speakers. You can also connect it to your computer and record the sounds and store them for when your child is old enough to listen.
Up & Raise Digital Fetal Heartbeat monitor
This FDA approved Doppler is perfect for mothers who may want peace of mind and reassurance during pregnancy; this is a common concern for mothers, especially for those who may have had previous difficulties.
It allows you to monitor your baby’s heartbeat, and amplifies sounds your baby may make; this is great for mothers (and fathers!) to start bonding with their infant right from the start. The design also means you can listen in on your baby using earphones for a more intimate experience or via the built-in speakers. The speakers also act as a stand, meaning it can be easily placed on a table while you relax and listen.
If you like to use apps and like the idea of having a Doppler that allows you to record your baby’s sounds and send them to loved ones this is for you. For peace of mind, it also features a display screen allowing you to check if your baby’s heart rate is within the normal range, which as mentioned is FDA approved!
With a simple on and off button, volume control and LED display it is very user-friendly and easy to get the hang of. It’s also a thoughtful gift idea for anyone who may be attending a baby shower!
Womb Music Heartbeat Baby Monitor
Due to its compact design and size, we think this Doppler makes the perfect pocket Doppler and stands out from the rest thanks to its ergonomic design. The shape of it means it sits on the stomach and stays there, freeing your hands to do other things such as recording your baby’s sounds on your computer or tablet. This is in contrast to other models that require you to keep hold of them throughout.
This Doppler is incredibly accurate, which is good to know since many are plagued by complaints of inaccuracy. You can pick up a variety of sounds including kicks, hiccups and other movements that may emit sounds; it can even be used to detect two hearts beats if you happen to be having twins. Just ensure you be a little more patient and take your time since twins tend to be smaller, it may be a little more difficult.
Overall it is a great product for pregnant mums who want to listen in on their little ones and begin building a bond. Some may be a little disappointed that it doesn’t include any lubricant gel; however, it’s relatively cheap and can easily be bought alongside the Doppler, so it isn’t too much of an issue.
This particular Doppler doesn’t have to jacks, but it instead comes with a “splitter” that allows you to use two earphones simultaneously. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to wait your turn.
How to Choose a Good Fetal Doppler
Making decisions on any type of electronic and technical device can be difficult when you’re not an expert and that is especially true when it comes to one concerning your child. Naturally, you want a doppler that is going to be reliable and serve you well.
Therefore, here are the most important things to consider when you’re on the hunt for a fetal doppler:
How soon do you want to listen to your baby? – As you are probably aware by now, there are a variety of devices available and they all vary in the time they state they can begin to detect your baby’s heartbeat. Typically, you will have to wait until your baby is at least 12 weeks until you can hear anything, regardless of the monitor you use. However, there are slight variations between the devices, some offering to detect heartbeats weeks before other models, so it’s certainly worth taking into account.
Is everything included? – The majority of devices require batteries to power them and lubrication are often advised to reduce static interference. As a result, you may prefer to purchase a device that includes everything you will require, this will ultimately save you time and money.
You may also want to purchase a device accompanied with a pair of headphones, particularly if you intend on listening to your baby in private – again this save you time and money having to source these separately.
Does it offer the latest features? – If you simply want to hear the sounds your baby makes, then you’ll be perfectly fine buying a low-end device. However, if you want complete information, you may want one that has a LED display that displays the heart rate and can tell you if it’s within the normal range.
Are Fetal Dopplers Safe?
There has been increased popularity of at home fetal dopplers devices and many pregnant women find them reassuring to use, but are they safe?
Fetal dopplers utilize the same technology used by ultrasound and rely on high-frequency sound waves. However, an ultrasound scan carried out by a professional takes much longer to perform and as a result exposes you to more high-frequency sound waves. On the other hand, a fetal doppler can be stopped at any point and typically takes just a few minutes to carry out.
To conclude, no negative effects have been found to be associated with ultrasound use during pregnancy. It is worth remembering that although some at home fetal dopplers have been FDA approved, the FDA recommends limiting the exposure to these devices as much as possible
How Do I Use a Baby Doppler?
When you first begin using a fetal heart monitor is can be a little bit overwhelming, especially if it’s your first child. The key is to take your time and have a little patience.
Using a fetal doppler is a straightforward process and you don’t need to be a professional to use one.
To get started you’ll need to uncover your belly and preferably lie or sit down somewhere comfortable. It’s a good idea to do this in a silent room, to ensure you don’t get disturbed anyone and that any sounds you hear aren’t drowned out by background noise.
Here are the steps to make it a little easier for you:
#1 Apply lubrication gel to your tummy, this will help to reduce static interference and make it easier to hear your baby’s heartbeat. Then taking your doppler, turn it on and start moving it very slowly in circular motions around your tummy.
#2 if you don’t hear anything it’s important to remember that you will find it difficult to detect a heartbeat in early stages of pregnancy. Other factors that can make it difficult include the position of the baby. Although it’s possible to hear your baby as early as 2 months, there is a huge variation in development – the expert advice is to wait until at least 12 weeks.
#3 it’s strongly advised that you wait until your baby is at least 12 weeks to avoid any unnecessary anxiety. For instance, before this period it may be possible to detect a heartbeat, but in the event that you then don’t hear it again within the week may cause you to go into panic mode. Therefore, it’s far better to wait until your baby is at the stage where they have a strong and consistent heartbeat.
#4 at the point you think you detect your baby’s heartbeat, refer to the monitors’ screen. This will indicate whether their heart rate is within the normal range. If it’s not, then it’s possible that you have detected your own heartbeat, which will be much slower than a baby’s.
#5 once you’re finished using your doppler, simply remove the lubricant gel from your abdomen, switch the machine off and you’re done. Of course, if you have any concerns, you should always seek the advice of a medical professional.
Please note: It’s essential to remember that the above devices are listening systems to hear the sounds your baby makes and ARE NOT medical devices and cannot be used for diagnostic or medical purposes and should never be used as a replacement for regular prenatal care by a licensed practitioner.