Updated: Nov 22, 2022
What If a Baby Doppler Shows No Heartbeat?
Updated on September 19, 2022
A baby Doppler device may not always detect a heartbeat in early pregnancy. Although some people may be able to hear a heartbeat as early as seven or eight weeks,1 there are a lot of factors that contribute to when it actually becomes audible with a Doppler device. Even in a healthy pregnancy, you might not hear a heartbeat when you expect it.
In most cases, a fetal Doppler will be able to detect a heartbeat by the end of the first trimester (around 12 weeks).1 Some providers do not begin checking for the heartbeat with a Doppler device before then to avoid causing unnecessary worry.
What Is a Baby Doppler?
A fetal Doppler, also known as a baby Doppler, is a handheld ultrasound device used to detect a fetal heartbeat. The device detects movement through sound waves. It is traditionally used in a medical office by healthcare providers to hear your baby's heartbeat.
To check for a fetal heartbeat, your provider uses a Doppler wand along with some ultrasound gel. The procedure is similar to a transabdominal ultrasound used to visualize a fetus in the uterus.
Most baby Dopplers have a digital screen, which displays the fetal heart rate number. At six weeks of pregnancy and beyond, the normal fetal heart rate is between 110 and 160 beats per minute, but it may vary slightly.