1. Check your Doppler Fetal Monitor 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)

When can a doppler detect fetal heartbeat? FDA latest report on the use of monitor fetal dopplers [1] 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 [2]. 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 [3].


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.

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