Before we get into explaining fetal dopplers' safety, let's clear the air.
Fetal doppler is just a lower strength ultrasound. It is used to listen to a baby's heartbeat, and doesn't transmit any information, it simply picks up sound waves.
Are fetal dopplers safe for baby?
Overall, yes! Safety is guaranteed!
The Neeva Doppler uses ultrasound technology that is non-invasive and very low-risk. The Neeva brand is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and uses a weaker sound wave than the one your doctor uses during visits.
Ultrasounds are the most widely used medical imaging method during pregnancy. There’s been no evidence of harm from using fetal Doppler devices at home.
Fetal doppler devices are considered safe for both mom and baby when used as directed. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind when using a fetal doppler at home.
Importance of Proper Use
The Neeva Fetal Doppler was designed to give mothers-to-be a sense of ease and comfort for piece of mind during their pregnancy. It was not designed as a medical device or tool for diagnosing any symptoms or as a replacement for proper medical care. We recommend you discuss using a fetal doppler with your healthcare practitioner in all cases.
Every woman’s body is different so there are women who report not hearing the fetal heartbeat, even though the baby is fine.
Not Hearing your Baby’s Heartbeat?
If you’re having difficulty hearing your baby’s heartbeat it could be because of one of the following reasons:
Your Baby is Out of Range of Hearing
Keep in mind that the earlier you start using the doppler the smaller your baby is. At 9 weeks of pregnancy, your baby is the size of a cherry! Your body also expands you uterus to make room for the rapid growth that’s about to begin inside you. This can make it difficult for some women to hear their baby because the doppler will need to be positioned in just the right way.
You have a Tilted Uterus
Where your uterus is located in your body can affect how the doppler picks up sound. The best way to hear your baby’s heartbeat is by pointing the doppler just below your pubic bone as that is generally where the womb is located. For some women, this is not the case, so the doppler won’t pick up sound if it’s place slightly different than most.
You Have Extra Body Tissue
If you are overweight (your Body Mass Index is above 25) there is an extra layer of tissue between the baby and the doppler that can get in the way of a good sound reading. Instead of hearing the fetal heartbeat which should be around 110-160 BPM, you might pick up your heartbeat instead. The average resting heart rate for an adult healthy woman is under 90 BPM.
When You Should See Your Doctor
The Neeva Fetal Doppler is meant to be used as a device to connect and check in on your baby at home. It should never replace a medical professional.
We recommend you take the fetal doppler to your healthcare professional when it arrives so they can teach you how to get an accurate reading and where to look for the heartbeat at home.
It’s important that you use the device sparingly, not every day, but in between ultrasounds when you want to connect with your baby at home. Although there are no risks of ultrasounds, like any exposure to technology (i.e. cell phones), we recommend limiting the device use to no more than 5 minutes every other day.
It’s important to also know what to look for - a baby’s heartbeat should be between 110-160 BPM and should sound like a horse galloping. If you are picking up a lower reading, it could be your own heartbeat which will be closer to 90 BPM.
If you don’t hear the baby’s heartbeat it could be for various reasons. We always recommend you visit your doctor or midwife when you feel anything is off for 100% reassurance.