Fetal dopplers are the greatest thing for pregnant women to bond with their babies before they are even born and to also get peace of mind during their pregnancy.
Imagine this: You feel a connection to your baby, so you grab your fetal doppler, lie down, turn it on, and get emotionally and physically ready to listen to your baby’s heartbeat.
There’s just one thing missing ... doppler gel.
What can you use instead of ultrasound gel for a doppler?
If you are asking, "what can I use instead of doppler gel?" don’t stress because there are alternatives that you can use. Luckily for you, most of these alternatives can probably be found around your home.
Why Do You Need Ultrasound Gel For At-Home Fetal Doppler?
Firstly, it’s important for you to understand that using ultrasound gel is not a must when using an at-home fetal doppler!
So can you use a fetal doppler without gel? Well, yes, but it may be more difficult to find the heartbeat. The gel helps to conduct the sound waves from the doppler, so without it, you may have to move the doppler around more before you find the heartbeat. Additionally, using gel will usually result in a clearer heartbeat sound.
A Fetal Doppler is a portable hand-held device that you can use in order to listen to and monitor your baby’s heartbeat. Essentially, the doppler effect creates an upward shift in the frequency of a sound wave to amplify the sound of your baby’s heartbeat.
The doppler is similar to a stethoscope, but the good thing about the doppler is that multiple people can hear the heartbeat, which is beneficial when it comes to bonding during pregnancy.
For the fetal doppler to work effectively, there needs to be a gel to act as a barrier in order for the sound to travel. Without the gel, the sound isn’t able to travel through the air as effectively and the friction of the probe against a dry stomach can create too much static. Overall, the absence of gel will make it much harder for you to hear your baby’s heartbeat.
Sounds can travel much better when you use easy-to-glide products, just like a gel. It essentially acts as a seal between the surface of the doppler’s probe and your belly so it stops any extra air.
Ultrasound gel is made from propylene glycol and water which gives it a thick and sticky consistency. The issue with alternatives that you may want to use is that the product can potentially be too thin, causing it to drip off, which will cause a mess.
What Is Important in Choosing An Ultrasound Gel Alternative?
Of course, ultrasound gel is the best product you can use when working with ultrasound devices like a fetal doppler.
But if you run out of gel and can’t get your hands on them before wanting to hear your baby’s heartbeat again, don’t lose hope! You can most definitely find something around your house that will work for you
Here are some tips for you to keep in mind when looking for an alternative:
- Avoid Runny Products: As mentioned before, using a product that is too thin won’t work because it will glide off the belly and create a mess. Try resorting to a product that has a thicker consistency.
- Avoid Products That Blend: Oftentimes, women will resort to lotion or cream. The downside of this is that these products will sink in your skin and the barrier you need will start to thin out. You should try choosing an alternative that will not be quickly absorbed by your skin.
- Be Careful With The Temperature: Many women complain about how cold gel can feel on their delicate pregnant belly - completely valid. You may want to keep your ultrasound gel alternative in a warm place inside your house so that you’re not uncomfortable when you decide to use it.
- Be Ready to Clean Up: Have wipes ready around you so that you can wipe the gel off your belly as soon as you’re finished using the ultrasound device.
8 Fetal Doppler Gel Alternatives
First and foremost, remember that the Neeva Baby Doppler comes with a sample size of lubrication gel, and you could always purchase more here. Gel is important to use when using the doppler because it creates a clear sound and a comfortable experience.
Without it, the sound will be interfered with by the exposed air and static will be caused.
FYI, a tip when using our gel: Don’t rub into the belly as if it were a moisturizer. Instead, apply two dollops directly on the belly and use the probe to spread it.
Now we’re going to get into what you really want to know: What can you use baby doppler gel alternative?
#1. KY Jelly
KY Jelly is a water-based product that is often used as a lubricant. The consistency of KY Jelly is the closest you can get to actual ultrasound gel - it’s not too thin, and is thick enough that it will not drip off your belly when using it. It is one of the most common alternatives for ultrasound gel.
#2 Bio Oil
Bio Oil is a very popular product, often used as a way to get rid of scars on your skin, stretch marks, uneven skin tones, and other problems that are related to your skin.
The downside of using bio oil as an ultrasound gel substitute is that it may create a mess, since it does have a runny consistency.
#3 Aloe Vera
Most people use aloe vera in order to treat sun burns. It has a gloopy consistency just like ultrasound gel which makes it a perfect alternative. This product is usually a cheap option and is widely accessible as well.
#4 Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil
Think about it, almost everyone will have a bottle of olive or vegetable oil in their households, which makes it a greatly accessible and affordable option. However, it can get messy since it has a thin consistency. To make less of a mess, use a small dish to pour the oil and use your fingers to dip in the oil and then apply to your belly.
#5 Baby Oil
Much like olive oil and vegetable oil, baby oil can be a great alternative to turn too if you run out of your ultrasound gel. Many women actually prefer baby oil over the other oils because it is scented so it enhances the experience a bit.
#6 Coconut Oil
When thinking about using oils, the idea of coconut oil may cross your mind. Although, keep in mind that this isn’t a very popular alternative, and it can create some static when using it to listen to your baby’s heartbeat.
#7 Moisturizers and Creams
As mentioned previously, lotions and creams tend to get absorbed by your skin so it isn’t always the best option. Compared to other oils and lubricants, lotions and creams will not transmit sound as well which makes it difficult to hear your baby’s heartbeat.
#8 Hand Sanitizer
Another option that is affordable is to use hand sanitizer as an alternative. However, hand sanitizer hasn’t been widely tested with fetal dopplers so it definitely isn't the safest option for you. Since this alternative could be more risky, talk to your doctor first.