Is it safe to use a fetal Doppler to listen to my baby's heartbeat at home?

Is it safe to use a fetal Doppler to listen to my baby's heartbeat at home?

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It's not a good idea.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that a handheld Doppler "should only be used when there's a medical need and only by, or under the supervision of, a healthcare professional." For example, your practitioner will use a Doppler to listen to your baby's heartbeat during your prenatal appointments.

You can buy a Doppler yourself and use it at home to try to detect your baby's heartbeat, but it's not as easy as it looks. And the long-term effects of repeatedly exposing a baby to ultrasound waves from these devices are unknown.

Here's how it works: A Doppler probe sends out high-frequency sound waves that pass through your skin and tissue and into your baby. When the waves encounter movement, such as your baby's heart beating, they bounce back to the device. The device then translates the movement into sound, which the machine amplifies so you can hear it.

The problem is that anything that moves inside you (whether it's your baby kicking, air moving in your intestines, or blood flowing in your arteries) is also translated into sound.

It takes lots of training and practice to distinguish a baby's heartbeat from the other sounds. And even if you do find the heartbeat, you're not likely to recognize changes in rate or rhythm that may indicate a problem.

There are better ways to keep tabs on how your baby is doing. Pay attention to your baby's movements, once you can feel them regularly. If you notice a decrease in activity, call your doctor or midwife right away.

Watch the video: 6 weeks 3 days, no heartbeat (October 2022).

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