Best Fetal Doppler Reviews in 2018
Because pregnancy is such a crucial and wonderful time for expectant mothers and couples, it's normal to want to get a quality prenatal monitoring device such as fetal doppler, to feel closer to the unborn baby. It's also a good way to get some peace of mind that everything is going smoothly with the pregnancy. Since there are quite a few models and brands to choose from on the market today, the task of choosing the right prenatal monitoring device can be daunting.
This review will cover the different leading models and everything else you'll need to know about choosing baby heart monitors, otherwise known as fetal doppler, or fetal heart monitors.
Fetal dopplers are devices used to detect the heartbeat of a baby inside the mother's womb. Like breast pumps, these were previously only used by obstetricians and obgynists in the office. Mainly used to check for any potential health issues with unborn babies, fetal dopplers have now evolved and become more accessible (and affordable!) to the masses. They can now be used at home, and can be a fun and entertaining way for parents-to-be to feel more connected with their child.
Now that you know what these devices are, the next step is to getting acquainted with the different types and their advantages, as well as disadvantages.
Most home-use fetal dopplers can be used simply by sticking the device unto your belly using an adhesive or strapping it on with a pouch or waistband. In some cases, the use of a lubricating gel is needed to find the baby's heart rate, but most baby heart monitors should be able to detect it when used in the 16th week of pregnancy.
The best way to get results from your fetal doppler is to be lying down with your abdomen exposed. In some cases, it's still possible to find the baby's heart rate when standing or sitting, but the best position is when you're on your back.
The easiest and most accurate way of knowing you're listening to your baby's heartbeat and not your own would be to listen to the BPM (beats per minute). Your heart rate will somewhere be around 60 to 100 BPM while your baby's will be much faster, between 120 to 180 BPM. It's normal for the fetal heart rate to vary when you're still in your earlier stages, but as the baby grows, it should become more stable. Also, keep in mind that like adults, the baby's heart rate will tend to change depending on his or her activity level.
Before you decide on buying a baby heart monitor, it's important to understand how each type differs from the other so you can decide for yourself which one best suits your needs and preferences.
Doppler for personal home use – this is generally the least expensive type of fetal doppler, but since it's not designed to be as accurate or as powerful as medical-grade ones, some models may not be able to detect the baby's heartbeat. There are exceptions, however, and we'll cover this in more detail below in the actual reviews for the best fetal heart monitors.
Medical-grade doppler – these are far more powerful than home-use dopplers and are very similar to the ones that doctors and professionals use. You can expect medical-grade baby heart monitors to be more accurate, but expect to pay a lot more for these devices as they are also typically larger and have more convenient features.
The first and most important thing to consider before buying is the intended use for the doppler. There are dopplers that can monitor the heartbeat of the baby, and then there are those that assess the vascular blood flow. These are very common with medical-grade prenatal monitoring devices, and some of them will even have the ability to handle both applications. For home-use dopplers, it's likely that you will only find models that can monitor that baby's heartbeat, and for most parents-to-be, that's good enough.
It's normal to get excited and wanting to feel more connected with your unborn child, but you'll need to be at a certain point in your pregnancy for the fetal doppler to be effective or to produce any accurate results. For some women, the heartbeat can be detected and assessed as early as 8-12 weeks into their pregnancy. Once you reach the 12th week, there's a 95% possibility that the fetal heart rate can be detected. Keep in mind, however, that each pregnancy is different and you shouldn't feel too disappointed if you don't get accurate readings from your house doppler at this point. Your doctor should be able to guarantee that the baby is well and healthy even if your doppler can't.
As a smart shopper, you may have already determined your ideal budget for this purchase. The best fetal dopplers for the money will range anywhere between $50 to $200, but there are also premium models out there that can fetch a hefty price of over $500. You can expect these high-end models to have all the bells and whistles you wouldn't normally find in a doppler device, and they're considerably more powerful and better at detecting the heart rate of the baby.
The basic function of a prenatal monitoring device is for parents-to-be to listen to the baby's heartbeat or assess the heartrate, but to improve the experience of both parents and babies, there are now countless of other features that can be found within these devices.
Below are examples of some features you can now find with most modern baby heartbeat monitors:
● Audio Recording and Playback – enhance your experience with a fetal doppler that's equipped with voice recording so your baby can listen to your voice and the voices of relatives. According to studies, the baby will be able to recognize these voices and be soothed by them after leaving the womb.
● Music Player – towards the end of the second trimester, babies start to hear. Although the baby may only hear them as muffled noises from outside the body, playing calm and soothing music will still teach the baby to recognize it when she hears it again after birth. It also encourages a lot of movement so your baby is more alert and active while inside the womb.
● Audio Splitter – if you're getting a fetal doppler with a music player, you'll appreciate this feature very much. An audio splitter allows you to hear what your baby is listening to so the two of you (or three, if your partner joins in) can enjoy the music together. It's a great way to bond early.
Expectant mothers may want to choose a fetal doppler that doesn't bulge too much under their clothing. This is convenient for when you want to use the device while at work or when taking walks to exercise and don't want people to wonder what you have sticking out of your baby bump. The best fetal doppler should ideally be portable, comfortable, and easy to use so you can enjoy your pregnancy with minimal stress and effort. The less stressed and more at ease you are, the better it is for the baby's health.
Editor's Choice for Best Fetal Doppler: Bellybuds® Baby-Bump Sound System, Deluxe
The Baby-Bump Sound System from Bellybuds® is our highest-scoring baby heart monitor overall. According to their website, the company was founded by parents with the needs of parents in mind, so we were highly pleased that their Baby-Bump Sound System, Deluxe truly delivered and produced lots of happy moms and dads. What we loved most about this product was how convenient it was to place on your belly. The adhesives worked well for the most part, but they had trouble sticking on oily-skinned users. The good news is that you don't really need the adhesives if you're planning on wearing a waistband, so we didn't consider this a serious downside. One very good feature would be this device's ability to keep an audio journal for your baby to listen to while you're sleeping or doing something. This allows the baby to really benefit from hearing your voice or the voices of other loved ones, as opposed to just listening to classical music or soothing tunes.
When attached and blasting the audio at full volume, you won't be able to hear much while the speakers are pressed on your belly. If you lift a speaker, however, you'll hear the sound or music playing. We would say that the effects volume-wise would be similar to someone who was talking loudly next to the belly. Loudness on fetal ears can be one concern for parents, but the Bellybuds® Baby-Bump Sound System isn't too loud as to damage the ears of your child and blasts sounds just loud enough so baby can hear through the walls of the womb.
The audio splitter is another great feature, letting you listen in on what the baby is hearing just by attaching a wired headset. The speakers, or Buds, as we'd like to call them, have a solid feel to them and seem durable enough. We haven't seen these Buds in any other color except green, but we think that's something most people can work with since the color itself is soothing and attractive. The adhesives that come with the device are medical-grade, which is a huge plus. You'll be needing approximately two pairs of these adhesives every month, and since most users are recommending that you start using Baby-Bump Sound System at 20 weeks, you'll likely need about eight pairs of extra adhesives to last you until the final weeks of pregnancy.
And because this product is the Deluxe version, you're also getting the convenient storage pouch, 10 pairs of adhesives, and Premium access to “VoiceShare”, which is what lets your baby listen to voice recordings of loved ones and family members. You'll also receive a code that lets you download a free digital album with plenty of great tracks to upload to your BellyBuds device that promote brain activity.
Overall, this would top our list of best fetal dopplers and we would gladly recommend it to parents-to-be who are looking to give their baby a stimulating and relationship-strengthening experience while still inside the belly.
Best Fetal Doppler for Baby's Brain Development: BabyPlus® Prenatal Education System
The BabyPlus® Prenatal Education System came very close to being our top pick for best fetal heart monitor. There were plenty of things to love about this doppler, but we decided that it all came down to personal preferences since not everyone's looking for a device that makes babies smarter. At this point, you may be wondering if the product actually works, and the truth is that the reviews are a good mix of great and average. What is for sure though is that this product is more than just a baby heart monitor – it's a portable classroom for unborn babies.
The BabyPlus® Prenatal Education System is the product of 25 years of research by developmental psychologist, Dr. Brent Logan, and includes a “curriculum” of scientifically created sounds that are somewhat similar to a mother's heartbeat. According to the website, these sounds help babies develop their sequential learning process through special sonic patterns that are already familiar to them. The technology and research involved with creating this doppler is so innovational that celebrity moms such as Gwen Stefani and Ali Landry have nothing but praises for it. Most parents naturally want to give their children the best advantages in life and we applaud this device for promising to do exactly that.
The benefits of using this doppler:
● Enjoyable enrichment for the baby – we're not saying the kind of music we adults listen to isn't as enjoyable or as enriching, but according to the people behind BabyPlus, the structure of these tunes can be too complex. That's why this doppler's 16-sound series doesn't include music, but natural and simple heartbeats that any baby inside the womb should be able to recognize.
● Simple and easy to use – most modern parents have a lot to juggle throughout the day, making them incredibly busy. The great thing about BabyPlus is that expectant mothers should be able to find time to use this doppler for at least an hour, either at home or at work. All you need to do is choose a lesson, adjust the belt, press play, and then you can put it out of your mind because the gadget turns itself off after the lesson's done.
● Safe for baby's ears – BabyPlus is just loud enough to be heard by the baby from within the womb. According to the website, the loudness should be 30 decibels lower than the sound of the mother's heartbeat. From outside the belly, it will sound a little louder than your refrigerator, but because you're using the BabyPlus with its cloth pouch while strapped to your belly, a lot of the loudness is muffled away so the baby only hears enough.
● Promotes brain development – exposing a baby to prenatal learning reveals a trend of earlier achievement of childhood milestones such as walking, talking, and reading. There's also the benefit of increasing the attention span of your child, which results in improved readiness for school. The 16-sound series is proven to promote strong thinking in unborn babies, which is something that all parents want for their kids.
● Volume is not adjustable – we just mentioned that this fetal heart monitor is louder than a refrigerator, and that may be a problem for most people because there's no way to turn this down except by shutting the device off. Some have reported to it being annoying, while others claimed it wasn't too much of a bother. In the end, the level of satisfaction gained from using this device will really depend from user to user.
● It can't guarantee a “genius baby” – some have commented how the BabyPlus did little more than make their baby more active, while others have reported how their children started walking and talking earlier than other babies they know. While it doesn't hurt to get our hopes up about the results we'll get with the BabyPlus, the reality is that every baby is different and sometimes we just need to let kids take life at their own pace.
While the BabyPlus® Prenatal Education System isn't a perfect fetal doppler, it certainly promises to do a lot. The science, however, does make sense and the company is no doubt committed to its mission of helping parents provide the best for their children. In the end, the BabyPlus may not create little Mozarts or Da Vinci's, but it's still an easy and non-invasive device that's definitely worth trying out
Advice before buying product:
According to a number of customers, the sizes indicated for the Sound Beginnings run a little small so it’s best if you get the product in a larger size (about one or two sizes up) so you don’t end up having to return or exchange it. So far, this is the only downside we’ve seen and heard about this prenatal monitoring device, so overall we’re confident you’ll have a fantastic experience with it - provided the size you order fits, of course.