At the end of the first trimester, let’s say, the 12th week, the fetus is usually developed enough that they have a heartbeat. It is at this stage in pregnancy that your obstetrician will start to use an ultrasound device called a fetal Doppler to check if the baby has a healthy heartbeat. Pregnant women are usually thrilled by the sound of their fetus’ heartbeat. On the other hand, if the Doppler device is not able to record a heartbeat, the feeling can be nerve-wracking.
If you choose to go for Doppler test, you have two options available to you like I will discuss below.
Fetal doppler at the doctor’s office
It is necessary to see a doctor or an obstetrician when you are pregnant because they need to check the pregnancy to ensure that it is healthy and in good shape. Some obstetricians usually start to toy with dopplers in an attempt to hear a heartbeat from your baby as early as eight weeks into pregnancy. However, chances are that at this stage in pregnancy, the baby hasn’t developed a full heart yet and as such, there may never be a heartbeat to be recorded. When this happens, there is no need to worry because it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong. Since the likelihood that a heartbeat will be recorded this early is low, some doctors never use a Doppler until a woman is at least 12 weeks pregnant. If a heartbeat can’t be felt at this stage in pregnancy, then there is real cause for alarm.
At-home fetal doppler
Most pregnant women can’t resist the temptation to buy a Doppler device and check the heartbeat of their babies in between doctor’s appointments. The number of women that buy Doppler devices over the counter is very high and doing the check can be very reassuring, especially for women who have had miscarriages before. The feeling of registering a heartbeat from a baby in the womb is usually reassuring for parents.
However, it is important to understand that at-home Doppler tests are usually not accurate and whether or not you hear a heartbeat may not mean anything. This is because there are very many low0quality dopplers devices being sold on the market, which are being used by people who have no experience in using them. Thus, chances of mistakes and false results are very high. In fact, if you suspect that there is anything wrong with your pregnancy, regardless of what your at-home doppler results, you should call or see a doctor as soon as possible.
Are at-home fetal dopplers safe?
The use of Doppler devices should generally be left to health practitioners because they have the necessary skills and experience to produce correct results. Health practitioners also use high-quality devices that have been approved for use for this purpose. The devices that doctors and other health practitioners use are not the same as the equipment that people buy over the counter.