Best Fetal Dopplers
Hearing your unborn baby’s heartbeat is the best sound you can hear. Typically, you only hear it at each doctor’s appointment and during ultrasounds. If you are like me, that is just not enough. I long to hear that sound while I am home, which is why I had to purchase one of the best fetal dopplers.
Years ago, women didn’t have the opportunity to listen to their baby’s heartbeat at home. Now, fetal doppler heartbeat monitors are a common purchase for pregnant women. Fetal dopplers provide reassurance for mothers who need peace of mind during their pregnancy, especially those who have had losses. Some mothers feel a stronger sense of bonding because of the fetal dopplers. Dopplers also allow partners to bond with the baby and to feel the excitement of hearing their heartbeat.
What is a Fetal Doppler?
If your doctor listened to your baby’s heartbeat in office, you saw a fetal doppler. You know what a stethoscope is because every doctor uses one from the time we are babies ourselves. A fetal doppler performs a very similar function, allowing doctors to listen to sounds inside of a human body. When you use a fetal doppler, you are listening for a heartbeat inside of your body, from the baby.
Are Fetal Dopplers Safe?
As a mother, your first concern will be the safety of your child. You never want to do anything that would harm him, so are fetal dopplers safe?
The monitor itself is harmless. Some people believe that the ultrasound rays used to hear the heartbeat could potentially be damaging after long-term uses, but it would take a lot of time to cause this damage.
Stress, on the other hand, because the mother is unable to find the heartbeat could be the issue. If you start trying to find the heartbeat too early, it could take days or weeks to find it. Then, in the early weeks, the location of the heartbeat will change. It is hard to find it on a consistent basis until your baby is larger.
- It is important for you to be smart about how you use the fetal doppler. While they are cleared for continuous use, mothers should always be sensible about how other they use it. It is recommended that you use it for no more than 10 minutes at a time. If you are unable to find the heartbeat within that time frame, take a break.
The Different Types of Fetal Dopplers
There are three types of fetal dopplers available.
- Handheld at Home Use Dopplers
These are the dopplers you are interested in purchasing for at home use. Honestly, quite a few of the handheld ones on the market feel useless. They make it difficult to find your baby’s heartbeat. If it cost less than $20, don’t even bother with it. Unfortunately, fetal dopplers aren’t a cheap item to purchase.
- Medical Grade
Medical grade fetal dopplers are more accurate that the typical at home dopplers. The downside to purchasing these types is the price; they are way more expensive and typically larger. You might not be able to find one to purchase easily either. However, if you have the money and access to them, you can trust the accuracy.
- Stethoscope Dopplers
Most people don’t use stethoscope style dopplers, but they are an option. The reason that most mothers don’t use these dopplers is that they are harder to use, but they are cheaper than medical grade dopplers. You could at least consider this option.
How to Pick the Best Fetal Doppler
The fetal dopplers that you can purchase for at-home use are different than the one your doctor will use in the office. There are some different features that you might want to look for in doppler before purchase. It is important to remember that the ones intended for at home use at less powerful than the doctor’s doppler.
- The Size of the Doppler: in the beginning, it can take some time to get used to using the doppler. You might spend a long time trying to use it correctly and to find your baby. The Doppler shouldn’t be too big that it is uncomfortable to hold in your hand. Ideally, a fetal doppler would fit into the palm of your hand, or they would include a separate probe that makes it more comfortable for usage.
- Price: Typically, we like to save money and go for the cheaper option that fits the list of features we want. You don’t want to do that with dopplers. Anything below $20 will be useless. It probably won’t even pick up the heartbeat until you are way further into your pregnancy. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars either. $50 is a good budget to set and will get you a decent doppler.
- Type of Doppler: We mentioned earlier the three different types of fetal dopplers. You should pick the one that you want the most, but handheld devices are the most popular for in home use. While the medical grade dopplers are more accurate, you probably don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for a device you can only use a few months.
- Quality: A huge factor to consider is the quality of the fetal doppler. You don’t want to spend any money on a fetal doppler made with cheap materials that will break after a few uses. Always check out the warranty offered by the company. When companies believe in their product and know the quality, they tend to offer much better warranties.
- Design: Dopplers work in different ways. Some of them come with ear buds for you to listen, or they at least give you a port to hook up ear buds. Others come with speakers. You have to decide how you want to use this doppler.
The Best Fetal Dopplers
Womb Music Heartbeat Baby Monitor by Wusic
One of the most popular choices for a fetal doppler is by Wusic. As a heartbeat monitor, you typically can hear your baby’s heartbeat around 16 weeks or later. Some mothers claim that using the Womb Music; they could hear the heartbeat as soon as eight weeks. However, to find a heartbeat that early, it takes a lot of work and time. You might have to push down harder than you expected to find the heartbeat.
The Womb Music is totally non-invasive. You will need to use a lubricating gel to transmit the rays to hear the heartbeat. If you opt not to use gel, the amount of static caused by movement will make it nearly impossible to hear the little heartbeat.
Parents like the Womb Music because it is versatile. You get two pairs of ear buds and a splitter so that both parents can listen to the heartbeat together. There is a cable that connects the audio output to a speaker or computer. You can use this device to record the sounds of the womb and later play it back for your baby. It is a great way to comfort your baby once he is born. You can easily control the volume as well.
On negative to this fetal doppler is that there is no digital readout for the heartbeat. I prefer to know the actual heartbeat rate. Instead, this is solely a listening device. It also comes with music for your baby, but you can’t play the music through the monitor for your unborn baby. That seems to defeat the entire purpose.
However, the Womb Music is FDA-approved and water resistant. It is not waterproof though, so don’t submerge it in the sink! It comes with a 9-volt battery.
Lansor Pocket 3MHz Probe Baby Monitor
One of the best selling fetal dopplers today is the Lansor Pocket. With this doppler, you might be able to find your baby’s heartbeat as early as ten weeks pregnant! That would be a wonderful thing.
The Lansor Pocket is different than the Womb Music. You don’t put the entire monitor on your stomach. Instead, you use the probe to find it, just like the doctor’s office. The probe can make it easier to find the heartbeat. You can move it around in small circles to find your baby.
Another difference is that this doppler will show your baby’s heart rate on the LCD screen with a backlight so that you can use it in a dark room. It is nice not to have to count the beats yourself. Instead, they are accurately displayed for you and everyone to see.
Lansor Pocket includes a bottle of ultrasound gel with it. It plays the heartbeat on a speaker rather than headphones. Another negative to consider is that there is no way to record on this device. There are audio jacks so you could listen with your own ear buds if you wanted.
Overall, mothers love the Lansor Pocket because it picks up the heart rate at a decent time and it has great quality. The sounds are clear, and it is easy to use. It is worth the money!
SnuggBugg Prenatal and Fetal Heartbeat Baby Monitor
SnuggBugg does all that Womb Music offers but for a lower price. The reviews are high; you won’t be disappointed in this fetal doppler at all. You can listen to your unborn baby’s heartbeat with the SnuggBugg. You can typically find the heartbeat by 16 weeks, sometimes as early as 14 weeks.
SnuggBugg also provides another feature that Womb Music doesn’t offer. You can record your baby’s heartbeat on a tablet or computer so you can listen to it whenever you want. You can send it to your family members and share the glorious sound.
Just like other fetal dopplers, you turn it on and put it on your belly. It is best to use gel for better results. It allows you to hear your baby’s heartbeat even better. The SnuggBugg comes with two headphones, so both parents listen to the heartbeat at the same time. With this fetal doppler, you can hear hiccups, kicks, and heartbeats, and you can record it all!
For your safety, the SnuggBugg is FDA approved. You don’t have to worry about it being safe for your baby. It also makes a fantastic gift for an expecting mother. She will love this gift and be able to listen to her new baby. SnuggBugg includes a two-year warranty and a 9-volt battery.
Figerm Baby Heartbeat Monitor
The next choice on our list is the Figerm Baby Heartbeat Monitor. Once again, it is similar to the Womb Music doppler, but it isn’t as sensitive. The price is around the same cost of the Womb Music, making it a great choice. You won’t spend more than $50, staying at a good budget.
The Figerm only comes with one set of headphones. So, if you want to listen with your partner, you will need to purchase a second set of earbuds. These aren’t expensive; you might have some already at home! Luckily, there are two audio output jacks, so the option is there for you.
The biggest negative to the Figerm is that you may have to wait even longer to hear the heartbeat, which can feel like an eternity. The earliest you might hear your baby’s heartbeat is around 15 weeks or even longer. The manual included does have some fantastic tips and advice to make the process easier. You have to use a lubricating gel. Otherwise, the static will be too overwhelming to hear your baby’s heartbeat.
While listening, there is a convenient volume switch and a cable that allows you to connect to a recording device. You could use it to post on social media or send to family members. It feels as if the construction of the Figerm isn’t as nice as the Womb Music. Yet, both are going to perform the function that you want and need. If you are ok with waiting until 15 weeks to hear a heartbeat, the Figerm Fetal Doppler may be the best choice for you.
Bijingles Heartbeat Baby Monitor
Bijingles is similar to many other fetal dopplers on the market with one exception. It comes with a convenient app for Androids and Apple devices. You can use this app to access a library of jingles and tunes. Then, you use the device to allow your unborn baby to hear those tunes. Experts believe that unborn babies benefit from music in the womb. Some babies are identified the tunes once they are born.
Bijingles includes a set of ear buds, just like the other choices on the list. There is also a recording cable that allows you to record and playback your baby’s heartbeat for other people. It is best to wait until the 16th week of pregnancy to use this fetal doppler. It isn’t as sensitive as other choices. However, once you are past the 16th week, you should be able to hear kicks, hiccups, heartbeats, and other little movements.
Rest assured; the Bijingles Heartrate Monitor is safe for your baby and non-invasive. However, it doesn’t come with any gel, which is strange. You will need gel to use this fetal doppler well. Most include some. You can always purchase a bottle of aloe vera gel at the local store. It works just as well.
Summer Infant Heart to Heart Prenatal Listening System
If you want an inexpensive fetal doppler that will perform the job you need, the Summer Infant Heart to Heart is the best choice. However, you do have to use it properly to make sure you can hear your baby’s heartbeat.
The first thing you should know is that the Heart to Heart is similar to Womb Music and the Fingerm Monitor because it is all in one piece. You will balance the entire Doppler onto your stomach to hear your baby’s heart rate. There are two headphone jacks and two sets of ear buds included with the doppler. There is also a cable included that allows you to attach the doppler to a recording device, like a computer.
The Heart to Heart stands out because it includes an unusual accessory: a belt that attaches to your belly. You can attach it to your belly and move around while listening to your baby. This feature, while it seems nice, probably isn’t very useful for you. However, it is there if you decide to use it.
There are negatives to this fetal doppler. It doesn’t have the highest reviews for a few reasons. First, the included ear buds aren’t very helpful. The unit itself is lower quality, so combined with lower quality ear buds, you won’t hear much other than static. If you use nice headphones, you are going to hear your baby’s heartbeat much easier.
The other negative is that this unit doesn’t have a loud enough volume. You will need to listen to your baby in a quiet room, without other kids or people talking. Last, the biggest negative is that you aren’t supposed to use this fetal doppler until the third trimester. It isn’t sensitive enough to pick up the little heart rate in the earlier weeks. If it weren’t for the extremely low price, there would be no reason to purchase the Heart to Heart. However, it performs the function you need if you are further along in your pregnancy.
How Do You Use a Fetal Doppler?
Once you select the best fetal doppler, you will want to know how to use it. Here are my best tips for success.
- Lie down on your back. It is best if you do so on a soft surface, like a couch or bed.
- Use a quarter-sized amount of gel. Too much gel can make it hard to hear. Too little gel increases the amount of static. You’ll find the perfect amount with practice. Some people ask if the ultrasound gel is important, and the answer is a resounding yes! Without gel, your fetal doppler won’t work as well. It is best if you avoid colored gels or lotions. Clear aloe vera gel works well. If the produce is oil based, it can cause damage to the doppler and extra static.
- Start about an inch under your belly button and work your way downwards.
- You are going to hear a lot of strange sounds. You are going to find your own heartbeat and the sound of the placenta. Don’t use it after you eat; those sounds are strange! You know that you have found your baby’s heartbeat when it is between 120 and 180 beats per minute, sounding like a horse galloping. Your heart rate will be between 60 to 100 beats per minute.
- Press down on your uterus. You don’t want to make it painful, but some pressure is needed especially in the earlier weeks to hear. You will need to move the doppler or probe around in circles in each spot. Remember, your baby is still so little.
- Putting a pillow under your hips can make it easier.
- While some mothers find the heartbeat around eight weeks, don’t get upset if you cannot. It isn’t recommended that you start trying until you are 12 to 15 weeks when the baby is much larger and easier to find.
Fetal dopplers can do good and bad. Sometimes, it is easy to get obsessed with trying to find your baby’s heartbeat in the beginning. To solve this problem, don’t use one until you are at least 12 weeks along. You increase your chances of finding it the longer that you wait.
There are two great options on this list that you may want to try. The Womb Music is the best-selling choice, but the Lansor Pocket is close behind is amazing reviews. You have to decide what features mean the most to you and find the one that fits into your budget the best.
Do you have a favorite fetal doppler? Let us know in the comments.