So I mentioned in a previous post that I bought an inexpensive fetal doppler off of eBay and I’ve only used it a few times because, while I’ve read that they’re perfectly safe, I’ve also read that dopplers might actually annoy babies due to the sound waves that are used to capture the heartbeat. Here’s a little blurb on how fetal dopplers work (from the FAQ page of BellyBeats.com):
The Fetal Doppler listens to reflections of small, high frequency sound waves that are reflected off of the fetal heart. Since high frequency sound waves do not travel readily through air, a liquid such as water, oil, or special gel (ultrasound lotion) is applied to the fetal doppler as well as the mother’s belly in order for the Fetal Doppler’s probe to detect these sound waves. These signals are picked up by the Fetal Doppler and are processed and amplified so that they are audible in the Fetal Doppler’s speaker or earphone and you are able to hear your baby’s heartbeat, like magic!
So, I don’t know if there’s any scientific evidence behind it, but I could see how high frequency sound waves might be annoying – so I don’t use the doppler all the time. A fetal doppler definitely isn’t a necessary item, but it’s nice to have. A lot of folks advise against getting them because it’s not easy to find the baby’s heartbeat and some mothers freak out when they can’t find it – and that did give me pause before buying one. In the end, I’m glad I did. I’ve only used the doppler a handful of times and there was only one time that I couldn’t find the heartbeat – but I didn’t freak out. I figured that the baby was in an uncooperative position and moved on with my day. In a few weeks, I should hopefully be able to start feeling Baby move around, so hearing the heartbeat won’t be my only way of knowing that Baby is still doing OK in there. For now, though, the times when I do hear it give me incredible peace of mind.
I woke up today and figured that, since I was awake at 6:30am on a Saturday, I had plenty of time to linger in bed, so I broke out the doppler. I was able to find the heartbeat after a few minutes of searching and calculated that it was somewhere in the mid 140s to 150. Since it didn’t take me too long to find the heartbeat today, I thought I’d try giving recording it on my computer a shot. I’d tried this the night I got it, but I couldn’t find the heartbeat again when I was sitting in front of the computer. This time, it worked!
I seriously think that is the coolest thing ever.