Maybe someone you know has rented or purchased a fetal doppler from one of the online rental companies who offer this service. If so, you may have heard how easy and wonderful it is to be able to listen to your growing unborn baby. The ability to monitor your unborn baby has lent millions of woman welcomed peace of mind during this exciting yet stressful time.
Are fetal doppler monitors safe?
This is an important question many expecting parents are asking themselves and the answer is yes! For over 50 years ultrasound technology has been used for various purposes in the healthcare industry with no evidence of any ill effect. This holds true to mother and child. The FDA regulates ultrasound technology and has approved the Fetal Doppler for 'continuous use'. This isn't to say you should monitor the heartbeat of your unborn baby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Current recommendations are monitoring 2-3 times a week for no more than 7 minutes per exam.
Are all fetal doppler monitors created equally?
If you've been researching the fetal doppler market you know that it has become saturated with many different doppler models offering different capabilities and options. The first thing you should be sure of when renting or purchasing a fetal doppler is its FDA approval. Every fetal doppler on the market that uses ultrasound technology (the only kind you want) must be approved by the FDA. First off, with most of the internet companies that have been around for a while, such as Stork Radio.com and SweetBeats.net, you need not worry and can rely upon their solid reputations. Secondly, be sure the equipment you're renting or buying uses ultrasound technology and is not simply a microphone which will just amplify your digestive sounds and are not recommended for use before 6 months into pregnancy (BeBe Sounds etc.). Lastly, with the ever increasing use of fetal dopplers in the home, many companies have attempted to capitalize by bringing to the market place less expensive models. These dopplers are not medical grade dopplers and may not hold up as well or offer the same overall quality as a medical grade doppler system. Medical grade Fetal Dopplers have historically been used only in medical environments such as hospitals and doctors offices and are still expensive instruments to own.
How do I know which fetal doppler is right for me?
Another important question to consider before renting a baby doppler is which one is right for me? For the most part there are two different types of dopplers on the market - regular and digital. A regular is the most basic model available for rent and will allow you to hear your unborn baby's heartbeat (rentals $32 per month). The digital fetal doppler will also give you the audio of the heartbeat but offers the added benefit of a digital display of your baby's heartbeats per minute or BPM (rentals $49 per month). Making the decision between the two is typically purely preference, except in the case of a pregnancy with multiples. In this instance you'd need a digital display to distinguish one baby from another.
Selecting the right probe.
Fetal dopplers come with either a 2 or 3 MHz probe. It is common knowledge among Obstetricians that 2 MHz (specialty probe) probes are better for overweight patients as the more concentrated ultrasound emission (beam) can pass more easily through the extra layers of fat surrounding the uterus. This more concentrated lower frequency beam also enables the fetal doppler a greater ability to pick up the fetal heartbeat earlier in pregnancy and often enables expecting parents to listen in as early as 8 weeks into pregnancy.
What else should I know?
Most companies offer free shipping, a free tube of ultrasound gel, tips, battery, and an instruction manual with rentals. You might want to purchase an extra bottle of ultrasound gel ($7-10) with your rental if you plan on keeping your doppler for one or more months. It's imperative for crisp clear sound to use plenty of ultrasound gel when listening.
As a consumer, you should always do plenty of research before making a purchase. I understand this and would like to offer you my choices on the most reputable and customer-friendly, Internet-based fetal doppler companies - www.storkradio.com & www.sweetbeats.net.
Bryan is an internet entrepreneur and writes for several pregnancy related websites such as FetalDopplerFacts.org where you can find further information as well as professional/user user reviews on several fetal doppler monitors.