Doppler is a device which is used to monitor fetus heart beats, commonly referred as “Fetal Doppler”. It is invented in 1958 by Dr. Edward H. Hon. It is also called as a baby heartbeat monitor. It is a hand-held ultrasound transducer for prenatal care. The device uses Doppler Effect to provide the audible simulation of heart beats. A few of the models also displays heart beat rate i.e. beats per minute.
It is generally used during scanning. A gel is applied on the mother’s stomach and the probe of the handheld device is placed on the abdomen and moved downwards to the pubic bone. This devices passes ultra sound rays in to the skin, tissues and then to the baby. When waves encounter some movements such as heart beat, blood flow etc. they bounce back to the device and it translated them into sound and machine amplifies them further so that the person using the device can hear them.
Doppler are of two types: Home Doppler and hospital Doppler. They both function in the same way with some minute differences. There are water proof and non water proof dopplers. Doppler probes are also available in two different frequencies: 2-MHz and 3-MHz.
Doppler is used only periodically to ensure the baby’s perfect growth. Using it more frequently, may cause harm to the fetus. Exposing fetus to the ultra sound rays frequently causes long term problems as they are unknown. This device translates all the baby movements into sounds. Among such sounds identifying exact sounds of the heart beat requires knowledge and patience. It is also said that the Doppler should not be used for more than 10 minutes at a go. In general, a person with medical knowledge or knowledge of births and babies can handles these devices easily.
As technology is being developed and internet is used widely, many are now showing interest towards usage of them at home. This leads to the raise of the question “Is it safe to use a Doppler at home”. U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that “Doppler should be used under medical guidance only”. Many researchers also said that a doppler should be used by a medical practitioner or a mid-wife to avoid any damagers to take place.
If you want to use a Doppler at home, you need to take proper care of its usage. Using a Doppler may appear to be an easy task, but it is not that easy. Moving it on the mother’s stomach for longer times may harm the baby and also finding out the fetus heart beats is not that easy especially during the first trimester. Fetus heart would be very small during first trimester and finding its exact location for common people without medical knowledge is a tough task.
Considering all these factors, the best advice would be to avoid usage of Doppler at home. A medical practitioner or a mid-wife knows how to do it perfectly. Hence, utilize their services and keep yourself and your baby safe and sound.