Mini fetal doppler on a bed next to headphones

The biggest question people have about fetal dopplers is, "Is it safe to use a fetal doppler at home?"

The short answer is, yes, fetal dopplers are safe for at-home use. An at-home doppler is a great way to connect with your baby between appointments by listening to their heartbeat.

Below we'll expand on exactly why they're safe and other common questions everyone has about fetal-dopplers.

1. Is it Safe to Use a Fetal Doppler at home?

Fetal dopplers are safe to use at home.

A fetal doppler uses soundwaves to listen to the fetal heartbeat. These soundwaves won't harm you or the baby. The main point is that an at-home fetal-doppler should not be used instead of a doctor's appointment. It's a tool to connect with your baby between appointments.

The difference between a fetal doppler at home and a fetal doppler at the doctor’s office is who is operating the machine. A doctor or midwife is trained to use a fetal doppler.

They have knowledge and experience in deciphering the sounds and movements. They know what is and isn't concerning. You can’t replace this expertise, but you can still listen to your baby’s heartbeat at home safely.

2. How Often Is It Safe to Use a Fetal Doppler?

It's safe to use an at-home fetal doppler one to two times per week for a few minutes.

Using the doppler one to two times a week is not a lot of time under an ultrasound machine; you and your baby will be perfectly safe. There isn’t medical research to suggest that ultrasounds are harmful.

If you suspect something is wrong with your baby, you can’t rely on a fetal doppler to tell you if the baby is well. See a doctor immediately, as it’s best to err on the side of caution. Babies can have issues and still have a strong heartbeat, so don’t risk it and talk to your doctor or midwife.

3. Why Can't I Find My Baby's Heartbeat With a Doppler?

It’s normal to have a little trouble finding the baby’s heartbeat sometimes.

Babies move into different positions. Having an empty bladder or rumbling stomach can make it trickier, and having too much gel or not enough can all affect results. There are so many factors at play.

Be sure to use the device from week 12 onwards; before this, results may not be accurate. The timeframe for hearing the heartbeat at home does differ per person and per pregnancy.

If you feel like something is wrong, speak to your doctor or midwife immediately.

4. How to Use an At Home Fetal Doppler

Be sure to read the instructions that come with your fetal doppler thoroughly. You will also need to make sure that your doppler is fully charged. Here is a set of general guidelines to follow when using a fetal doppler at home:

1. Lie back in a comfortable position. Ideally, your bladder should be full so your stomach won't be rumbling.

2. Apply the fetal doppler gel to your bare lower belly and the doppler.

3. Turn the doppler on and place it on your lower belly, moving slowly up towards your belly button.

4. Move the device slowly. You can also move left and right until you find the baby's heartbeat.

5. You might hear two heartbeats in your fetal doppler. The faster one is your baby’s. A fetal heartbeat is usually 120BPM or higher; an adult heartbeat is lower.

5. How Does a Fetal Doppler Work?

When you hold a fetal doppler to your stomach, it returns a heartbeat from your baby inside the womb.

A fetal doppler heartbeat monitor sends high-frequency sound waves through your skin to where the baby is in the womb. When the waves detect movement, such as a heartbeat, they return a signal to the device. The signal is then translated to sound and amplified so you can hear it.

Woman using a fetal doppler at home

6. At How Many Weeks Will the Fetal Doppler Hear a Heartbeat?

A fetal doppler is designed to help you hear your little one’s heartbeat.

Most people will begin to hear a heartbeat in the second to the third trimester. From 12 to 16 weeks of pregnancy, you will be able to listen to your baby's heartbeat a little louder.

Around this time, your baby will begin to kick and punch as well.

Sharing your baby’s heartbeat with your partner and close family members using a fetal doppler is a unique and exciting event.

There’s a higher chance of hearing the heartbeat thanks to the baby’s size later in the pregnancy, especially in the third trimester.

Remember that the fetal doppler may also detect the mother’s heartbeat. To differentiate, the babies’ heartbeats generally beat faster than adults’.

About BabyHeart fetal dopplers

BabyHeart fetal dopplers are designed to allow parents to listen to their baby's heartbeat.

The highly sensitive monitor and state-of-the-art fetal sounds detecting functions can pick up your baby’s heartbeat from as early as nine weeks.

However, most people will hear sounds starting at 12 to 16 weeks of pregnancy.

BabyHeart fetal dopplers help you make memories with your loved ones as you listen to the heartbeat of a tiny human waiting to make its entrance into the world. You can also record baby sounds on the doppler to cherish forever.

Final Thoughts

This article has answered a common question about fetal dopplers: Is it safe to use a fetal doppler at home?

Make sure you stay up to date with your prenatal appointments. Follow the instructions from your OB-GYN, doctor or midwife during your pregnancy. You can also talk to your doctor about their opinion on using a fetal doppler at home - asking questions allows you to ease any pregnancy fears or anxiety.

Want to connect to your little one? Shop our range of fetal dopplers! We have a wide range so you can find the perfect fetal doppler to suit your needs and budget.

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