Few sounds compare to hearing their baby’s heartbeat for the first time. For decades, expecting parents could only hear their baby’s tiny heartbeat through a fetal Doppler machine at the doctor’s office. Today, you can hear those first signs of new life right in your living room with an at-home Fetal Doppler machine.
In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about when a baby’s heartbeat starts, when you can use a Fetal Doppler, and how to use your at-home baby monitor device.
When do babies first form a heartbeat?
Researchers today pinpoint 22 days as the earliest parents-to-be can detect a heartbeat. Because fetuses receive oxygen through their blood, rather than their lungs, their circulatory systems are built differently while they’re in the womb. Blood circulates via a system of shunts, rather than the full-fledged circulatory system you’d recognize in a fully-grown human.
There are two important features of the fetal heart to be aware of:
The foramen ovale, an open flap between both chambers of the heart which shuts after your baby is born
The ductus arteriosus, a major blood vessel which, after birth, will be replaced by the aorta and pulmonary artery to connect with your newborn’s lungs
What does this mean for moms-to-be? It means that at 22 days, your baby’s heart is still just a cluster of cells.
So, while you may be able to sonically hear your little one’s heartbeat with a fetal heart rate monitor, it’s essential to keep seeing your doctor to confirm your baby is developing at a healthy rate.
What is a Fetal Doppler?
A Fetal Doppler, also called a fetal heart rate monitor, is a general term for a device that detects a heartbeat through sound waves, just like an ultrasound imaging machine. By measuring the change of frequency in sound waves from an echo (also known as the Doppler effect), a fetal Doppler replicates the sound of your baby’s little heart.
There are two types of Fetal Doppler devices you may encounter while pregnant:
Clinical Fetal Doppler – Clinical fetal Dopplers are high-grade and sensitive machines often found in hospitals, with stronger soundwave currents and usually 3D (or even 4D) imaging. Your OBGYN may recommend using this device at your first prenatal appointment (around 8 weeks), second standard ultrasound appointment (18 to 20 weeks), or in the early stages of labor.
At-Home Fetal Doppler – An at-home fetal doppler machine is less sophisticated than its clinical counterparts. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth your time or money! When used correctly, they can be an excellent tool for connecting with your baby at the comfort of your own home.
At-home fetal dopplers aren’t just a way to connect more deeply with your child: they’re a great way to keep tabs on your growing baby in between visits to the doctor’s office. Just remember that these baby heart rate monitors should always be used to complement, rather than replace, in-person appointments with your healthcare provider.
When should you start using a Fetal Doppler?
While the 22-day mark is recognized as the earliest period when a fetus’ heart starts to beat, you won’t be able to tune your baby’s heartbeat this early using an at-home heart rate monitor.
So, when can you hear a baby’s heartbeat with fetal doppler devices? The majority of Fetal Dopplers work best when used in your second or third trimesters, when your baby’s heartbeat is strong enough to register.
That said, there is a pattern to baby heartbeat formation, and, correlatively, how early fetal heartbeat can be detected with clinical or at-home Dopplers:
Week 5 – A little after a month, your baby’s heart emerges as a cohesive beating structure. However, fetal Dopplers will not pick up this sound because they are used transabdominally (by being placed against the mother’s abdomen). Only vaginal ultrasounds can detect a heartbeat this faint at this stage.
Weeks 6 to 8 – During this period, your baby’s heartbeat will rise from 110 bpm (beats per minute) to 150 to 170 bpm—about twice as fast as yours. At this stage, your baby’s heartbeat may be detectable by a clinical Fetal Doppler.
Week 10 – By now, most babies’ hearts beat at 170 bpm. Between now and week 20, it will slow to around 140 bpm. While some at-home Fetal Dopplers pledge to detect your baby’s heartbeat at this stage, most high-quality devices won’t work properly until at least week 16 of your pregnancy. When in doubt, consult with your OBGYN before purchasing and using your device.
Week 12 – By week 12, your OBGYN should have booked or completed your first trimester check-in to verify your baby’s heart is beating. Why? Because research shows that if a baby’s heartbeat is detected past week 10, it has a 99.4% chance of avoiding miscarriage.
What if I can’t hear my baby’s heartbeat by week 12?
If by week 12 your at-home Fetal Doppler isn’t picking up on your baby’s heart, don’t fret.
Once your physician has confirmed your baby’s heartbeat and a healthy pregnancy, it’s unlikely your fetus is injured or struggling. More often than not, your baby is likely just hiding somewhere in your uterus that’s out of your at-home Fetal Doppler’s range.
Several common physical factors can make it harder for an at-home Fetal Doppler to detect what it’s designed to detect, including:
A tilted uterus
Surrounding placenta tissue
Surrounding abdominal fat tissue
Slow fetal growth
Spine-forward fetal lying position
Keep in mind that human error and the slightly lower quality of many at-home Doppler devices can also impact results. That said, trust your instincts—if you’re concerned, you can always request an interim OBGYN checkup.
How to Use a Fetal Doppler, Step by Step
There are some practical steps to take before connecting with your little one. So, how to check a baby’s heartbeat during pregnancy at home?
Before you begin, set up a station with your Fetal Doppler, batteries for your device, and these three essentials:
Fetal Doppler gel – Fetal Doppler or ultrasound gel is formulated with water and a solvent known as propylene glycol. It serves two critical roles in the heart monitoring process:
To lubricate your skin, making for a more comfortable experience
To form a bond between the device and your womb, which conducts sound waves and eliminates static output that could meddle with your results.
Headphones or speakers – Whether you’re experiencing this magical moment alone or with loved ones, have your preferred listening device on hand so you can hear their heartbeat in HiFi.
A private spot to lie down – You’ll want to find a private, comfortable place to lie down before you first use an at-home Doppler. Finding the heartbeat can take a few tries to start, so get comfortable—a sofa, bed, or a yoga mat are all fine options.
Once your station is set up and you’re feeling calm and collected, it’s time to have that heart-to-heart. Bear in mind that every Fetal Doppler device is different, but most of them will require five basic steps to use:
Get into a reclined position and turn on your fetal Doppler (and any other sound devices you’ve connected)
Lift your shirt or lower your pants to expose your stomach. Then, apply a healthy dollop of ultrasound gel to the lower abdomen.
Place the device on top of the gel and slowly start to move it from the lower abdomen towards the navel. Repeat this movement using continuous, gradual strokes, moving laterally so the device can access a different part of your uterus.
When you stumble upon your baby’s heartbeat, you’ll either hear a light thumping in your headphones or speakers or your Fetal Doppler will visually register it’s found your baby.
When you are finished, clean the device and your stomach by wiping off the gel with a clean washcloth or towel.
It’s common for moms-to-be to run into some difficulty locating that tiny heartbeat on their first try. If you’re struggling to make contact, be sure to turn your device off after 10 minutes (the longest recommended time for your baby listening sessions) and give it another go later.
Fetal Doppler Homedoremi is a remarkable brand that you may believe to reliably discover your toddler. But, like any fetal doppler for domestic, it’s now not a medical device. Even as a person may think they listen an abnormality at the tool, only a skilled health practitioner can diagnose issues.
Similarly, only a medical doctor can genuinely will let you recognize for positive whether or not your baby is okay. Without or with a fetal doppler, any lack of being pregnant signs and symptoms must continually be stated on your physician immediately.
Fetal dopplers additionally do not update ordinary prenatal checkups. You must attend appointments so your doctor can check your infant the usage of their own in-office fetal doppler.
Precis: investing In A Fetal Doppler Homeodoremi
Making an investment in a fetal doppler Homedoremi is a superb preference in the course of pregnancy. The excellent device is simple to apply and might create memorable bonding experiences for the family. The recording choice makes it handy to proportion the pulse together with your healthcare issuer too.
Document Your baby’s Heartbeat for forever reminiscences. Get a Fetal Doppler Today!