How to Find Your Baby’s Heartbeat with a Monitor Fetal Doppler
Listening to your baby's pulse for the first time raises many expectations. First-time parents get excited, the family comes together, and everyone celebrates the arrival of this new life into the world. But what happens when the experience is not what they expected?
It's too common to find testimonials from parents who feel nervous because they can't find their baby's heartbeat. Then, the beautiful experience of meeting your child can become an anxiety episode.
Don't worry. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your pregnancy!
Most of these cases are due to parents who use their monitor fetal doppler in the wrong way. Also, it is possible that the pregnancy is early or that the baby is in a position that complicates the scope of the device.
However, as we are responsible for the well-being of the parents and the baby, we always recommend regular visits to your family obstetrician. In no way our device can replace the knowledge of a medical professional!
Tips for finding fetal heartbeat with doppler
Do you have recently purchased a monitor fetal doppler, or are you considering purchasing one from our online store? Please consider the following useful tips for a great, unforgettable experience with it:
1. Check your monitor
Before you begin, you must test your equipment to avoid false readings.
Always make sure that the monitor fetal doppler is on and that all accessories are connected. Examine the connections and the cable of the probe and the monitor. Make sure the device has enough battery power (you can replace them with other +AA batteries). If desired, plug in your favorite headphones for a more defined sound.
2. Make sure you are at the recommended pregnancy stage (12 weeks)
FDA latest report on the use of monitor fetal dopplers  says that traditionally these devices are used in the second trimester of pregnancy. That is, between 10 and 12 weeks. At this stage, it is easier to detect the baby's pulse and obtain a more defined image using an ultrasound.
Are you at week 12 and still unable to hear your baby's heartbeat? There is likely an error in the week count in case you are relying on a missed period. If your pregnancy is in-vitro, check with your obstetrician.
3. Prefer the early hours of the day
Although there is no strict schedule for doing a reading with your monitor, its advisable doing it during the morning . Since babies tend to move around more at night than during the day, the first few hours are restful. Besides, the mother is more likely to be less swollen, which makes it easier to detect a pulse.
4. Drink plenty of water
When you undergo an ultrasound, a full bladder compresses the uterus enough to "clear" its image. Well, when it comes to reading a baby's heartbeat, this principle also applies.
Coffee, alcohol? No, thank you. These drinks speed up the mother's pulse and affect the reading of the monitor fetal doppler. Also, when drunk in excess, they can harm the baby's natural development, according to the NCBI .
5. Choose a comfortable position
Ideally, the mother should be lying down. Find a recliner or lie down on a couch or your bed. Do not use your monitor standing up. It only impairs reading and complicates the process.
If you are nervous, consider doing breathing exercises to relax. When the mother feels anxious, her heart rate increases, which you could confuse with the baby's pulse.
6. Apply enough gel
The ultrasound gel helps the monitor better capture the baby's pulse. Measure the application: enough to spread over the entire area, but not too much, so as not to muddy up the probe.
How should you apply the gel before using a monitor fetal doppler? Slightly press the gel container and pour directly onto the abdomen. Spread it with the probe all over the pelvic area, in the lower part of the belly. But do not spread it too much! It can create air bubbles that complicate the monitor's work.
7. Make slow movements with the probe
One of the most common errors when using a monitor fetal doppler is making sudden movements. Sometimes nerves and emotions cause parents to move the probe from one side to the other as if it were a massager.
These devices require patience. Gently run the probe from the lower pelvis upward. Make slow, almost imperceptible movements. Please, do not lift it, slide it into the belly. That way, you will be able to find your baby's heartbeat.
Extra tips for new parents
How to know if the baby is in an improper position to hear his/her heartbeat?
Babies tend to move around a lot in the second trimester of pregnancy. It's common to get "kicked" or feel like your stomach is "upset. Without an ultrasound, it's impossible to know the exact position of the baby.
Follow all the steps for using a monitor fetal doppler found in the instruction manual or this post. If you can't feel your baby's pulse, try again later, when you feel the baby move. If you are unsure, consult your obstetrician.
Is that my heartbeat or my baby's?
A monitor fetal doppler cannot distinguish the mother's and baby's heartbeats with the naked eye. To do it, you must do a "manually" easy count.
The mother's heartbeat is usually slower than the baby's.
According to NCBI , the fetal heartbeat averages 110-160 beats per minute (BPM). In contrast, a trained adult's heartbeat is about 80 BPM.
If your monitor shows rare results repeatedly on the same day, consult your obstetrician.
Consider that a monitor fetal doppler for use at home does not have the same power or effectiveness as an ultrasound machine-made for obstetricians and specialists.
Take a deep breath and be patient! It is natural that your device takes a little longer to give results or that you do not find your baby's heartbeat at the first attempt.
With a little more practice using it several times and the help of your doctor, you will see that everything will be fine.
Share this blog with future mothers or your partner in this new parenting adventure!
 “Enforcement Policy for Non-Invasive Fetal and Maternal Monitoring Devices Used to Support Patient Monitoring During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Public Health Emergency Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff” Food and Drug Administration, April 2020, https://www.fda.gov/media/137286/download
 “Fetal Heart Monitoring” John Hopkings Medicine, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/fetal-heart-monitoring
 Coffee and Pregnancy” National Center for Biotechnology Information, February 2007, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1804190/
 “What Is The “Normal” Fetal Heart Rate?” National Center for Biotechnology Information, June 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3678114/