The Fetal Doppler: the device to hear the fetal heartbeat

A fetal doppler is a simple device that is used to observe and monitor an unborn baby's heartbeat, the fetal hiccups and provides a way of monitoring the heartbeat of a fetus. It can be used in the safety and comfort of your home though it is important to use an FDA approved fetal Doppler. It is possible to start monitoring a baby's heartbeat after the 8th week until the baby is finally born.

Fetal Doppler: how it works

It is basically a pregnancy diagnostic instrument that is used to measure and detect the heart rate of a fetus and the fetal hiccups. The fetal doppler works by continuously emitting and then receiving ultra-sonic sound waves. It then emits the detected changes of these sound waves that are then interpreted as the baby's heartbeat. It works by using the Doppler Effect which was a physical effect that was detected by the Austrian physicist and mathematician Christian Doppler. The fetal doppler uses a probe or transducer of varying MGHZ, usually two or three in number and contain piezoelectric crystals to send short waves of sound that are directed towards the mother's womb. The transducer pauses briefly so as to listen to the echo that is returning after bouncing back from the womb. The fetal doppler will determine the depth and direction of each echo and then convert this into the heartbeat so what you hear is a reproduction of the baby's heart beat and not the actual heartbeat.

The fetal Doppler simply checks the sound waves of high frequency that are formed by the baby's heartbeat. Under normal conditions, these sound waves cannot be heard easily. The doppler's probe should thus continuously move until the fetal heartbeat is heard or noticed. When found, the sound waves are sent to the fetal doppler monitor where they can be heard.

Different dopplers differ in their range of frequency that their probes can emit and this is normally between 2 and 3 MHz. A 3MHz probe is normally recommended when the pregnancy is in its early stages while a 2MHz probe is the most suitable for overweight pregnant mothers. It is therefore advisable to always consult a doctor on the choice of a doppler. The fetal doppler makes it simple for you to calculate the fetal heart rate. It is a portable device and therefore runs on batteries and some dopplers come equipped with a warning system to tell you whether the heart rate is too slow or too fast.

the fetal doppler

Despite the existence of fetal dopplers, pregnant women should always consult and make timely visits to a medical practitioner whether or not they are using a fetal doppler. You should however have no reason to worry if you cannot hear your baby's heartbeat since it only be heard after 8 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Following a Fetal Development Timeline will make you track the fetal development easily

Under normal circumstances, it is almost impossible to hear the baby's heartbeat because of the fat, tissue and layer muscles. In addition to this, there are also fluids and liquids that give some additional resistance thus necessitating the use of a fetal doppler to hear a baby's heartbeat.

A fetal doppler comes equipped with a fetal doppler monitor that gives a simulated and distinct heart beat from the ultrasound transducer. Some fetal dopplers use an Auscultation monitor that displays the output in beats per minute (BPM). Despite providing information that resembles using a stethoscope, a fetal doppler allows not only the user to hear the baby's heartbeat but other people as well. This however comes at an extra cost and complexity and as most electronic devices, the element of lower reliability.

The advantages of a fetal Doppler

the fetal Doppler pink

The fetal doppler's main advantage is that it gives parents some level of comfort that the pregnancy is without any sort of complications and going on normally. It is very effective and useful especially for mothers that are worried about their baby's health as it helps the somehow connect with their unborn baby. It is common that pregnant women worry about their baby's health and the fetal doppler helps to reduce the stress associated with this, by proving your baby is doing fine.

The disadvantages of a fetal Doppler

There are however some disadvantages or fears that come with the use of fetal dopplers. One of these is that it can give a false sense of well-being as some mothers may decide to put off seeking medical attention provided that the fetal doppler detects a normal baby's heartbeat. Another source of concern is that most fetal dopplers, particularly those that are rented out for or sold for use, are not designed to be used as sophisticated diagnostic machines but are only simple devices to measure the heart rate of the unborn baby. It is therefore recommended that you should constantly and frequently attend medical checkups to ensure that the unborn baby is healthy and doing fine, keep track of the fetal development timeline and use the fetal Doppler on the side.