Whether you are new to being pregnant or an old pro, each pregnancy brings its own excitement and anxiety. In those early months, before you feel the baby move, it can be difficult not to worry too much about the health of your little one. Buying or renting a fetal heart Doppler allows you to hear your baby’s heartbeat at any time, easing your anxiety and helping you to bond with your baby. The digital fetal heart Dopplers also have features that allow you to record that precious sound onto a computer. With this, you can share your baby’s first sound with family and friends, no matter how far away.
Use the home fetal heart Doppler at eight weeks or later in the pregnancy. Before eight weeks of gestation, the heartbeat usually cannot be heard. In some cases, the heartbeat cannot be heard until after 12 weeks; so do not panic if you cannot hear the heart beat this early.
Spread the gel that came with the Doppler or hand lotion over your uterus. In early pregnancy, before 12 weeks, it is located just above the pubic bone and below the belly button. As your pregnancy progresses, your uterus will not be difficult to locate.
Hold the wand against your belly where you placed the gel and wait a few moments to hear the heartbeat. If you do not hear it, move the wand around slowly to different spots. The wand needs to be very close to the fetus to pick up the sound.
Count the number of heartbeats you hear in 15 seconds and multiply this number by 4. This gives you the heartbeat per minute. A normal heart rate for a fetus ranges from 120 and 160 beats per minute, according to the Dr. Spock website.
- Use only a fetal heart Doppler that has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration.