TIP 1: DON’T SKIMP ON THE GEL!
If you’ve ever had an ultrasound, you’ll recall that the technician will apply a generous amount of ultrasound gel. This is because the gel makes it easier for the device to detect a heartbeat. Ultrasound gel works by reducing static, which can otherwise interfere with the signal.
Don’t worry about running out - at BabyHeart Australia, we’ve considered your every need any many of our fetal dopplers come with a FREE full-size bottle of ultrasound gel.
Application Tip: Gently apply the ultrasound gel in a layer to your lower belly - don’t rub it in like you would a moisturiser.
TIP 2: HAVE A FULL BLADDER
Many women find first thing in the morning to be the most effective time for finding the baby’s heartbeat - why not try jumping out of bed first thing in the morning and before you use the bathroom, see if you can find your little one’s heartbeat.
Having a full bladder helps to push your uterus out of the pelvic cavity, so the sound can be more easily detectable in this position.
TIP 3: DON’T RUSH
We know, it can be super exciting to try and find your baby’s heartbeat so it can be tempting to move the probe around as much as you can if you’re having trouble detecting the heartbeat at first. But slow and steady wins the race.
It’s a good idea to start with the probe around the middle of the pubic bone area, then work your way up the belly in a gentle rocking motion, going as slow and steady as you can.
Remember that your doppler can detect other noises too. By going slowly and gently angling the probe by rocking it as you move, you’ll have the best chance of finding your baby’s heartbeat using a doppler.
TIP 4: KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR HEARTBEAT AND BABY’S HEARTBEAT
Fetal dopplers can pick up on the mother’s heartbeat sometimes. Not sure which is which? A good rule of thumb is that if the heartbeat is between 60-80 beats per minute, it’s likely your own heartbeat.
A fetal heartbeat will likely fall between the 120-180 beats per minute range.
Remember: This is a general guide only and other factors can also influence heart rate, such as caffeine or nicotine.
TIP 5: KNOW WHAT OTHER SOUNDS TO LOOK OUT FOR
When using a doppler, you’ll hear a variety of other sounds - one of the most common sounds is a ‘whooshing’ noise. This usually is heard when you move past the placenta, or when there’s movement in your belly.
The whooshing noise is not the same as your baby’s heartbeat.
You may also occasionally hear what sounds like two heartbeats at once, this is commonly caused by an echo and does not indicate that there are two heartbeats present (unless your doctor has indicated that you have multiple babies).
TIP 6: TRY FINDING YOUR OWN HEARTBEAT FIRST
If you’re not feeling confident about what sounds you can be listening for, you might like to try positioning the doppler probe over your chest and listening to your own heartbeat.
This will help you understand what you’re listening for and will teach you how to tell your heartbeat apart from your baby’s heartbeat. It will also let you know that your fetal doppler is working correctly.
TIP 7: CHANGE POSITIONS
The most common position that you’re more likely to find your little one’s heartbeat is lying comfortably on your back, but if you find it uncomfortable to lie on your back, switch positions.
The more comfortable you are, the more relaxed you’ll be.