A doppler is a device with which you can listen to the heart of your unborn child. It works by means of sound waves, which reflect on the vibrations of the circulatory system of the fetus. The midwife can do this for you, but you can also buy a Doppler yourself, so that you can just listen at home, or everything goes well.
However, your midwife knows exactly what to listen to and how it should sound, you usually do not know that yourself.
The dopplers for home use are of lower quality than the doppler that your obstetrician will use. They use fewer sound waves than the equipment at your midwife or in the hospital.
When to use?
You can use a Doppler from about twelve or thirteen. From that moment on, the child has grown above the pubic bone so that there is no more bone in the way to properly reflect the sound waves. So it does not make much sense earlier. Also the brain is still in development at an earlier stage, for this reason too the midwife will wait until your child is about twelve weeks old.
It is not clear whether the use of a doppler can harm your child. Precisely because there is no clear answer to this, it is better not to use the doppler too often. Limit use to a maximum of once a week and then for only a few minutes. That way you keep the sound waves as limited as possible.
The use of a Doppler may seem to take away your uncertainties, but you can also get stressed. You may not know exactly where to place the doppler on your stomach, what you should hear and how it should sound. When you can not find the heart, you can be pretty worried, while there might be nothing wrong and you just do not put the device on your stomach. Of course, stress is never good during your pregnancy.
The use of the doppler
If you have purchased one, you obviously want to know how to use it. We have listed the steps here:
1) Choose the right moment, so only after 12 weeks. If you lie quietly (for example, at bedtime) your child can start moving more and you may find him a little easier. A full bladder can facilitate the search because water guides the sound waves well.
2) Place the doppler in the right place, at 14 to 24 weeks, then just above the pubic bone, well below the navel. After 24 weeks, you probably find his heart rate just below or around the navel.
3) Make quiet movements with the Doppler, the faster your movements are, the more difficult it is (you fly faster). You can also tilt the doppler slightly to listen in different directions. Listen for a moment if you hear something before you continue.
4) Your child has a faster heart rate than you. Your heart rate is between about 55 and 75 beats per minute, while your heart rate is between 120 and 160 beats.
Are you not right? Then try again the next day quietly. As you progress in the pregnancy, it will become easier and easier.