If you’re an expecting mom, you probably have seen this device during your last visit from your OB. While lying down, the doctor used this to check your baby’s heartbeat. This device is called a fetal Doppler or Doppler fetal monitor in the medical field.
The fetal Doppler was invented by Dr. Edward H. Hon in 1958. It is a hand-held ultrasound transducer used to detect the fetal heartbeat for prenatal care. The fetal Doppler uses the Doppler effect to provide an audible simulation of the heartbeat. There are some models that display the heart rate in beats per minute.
A fetal Doppler provides information about the baby similar to that provided by a fetal stethoscope or fetoscope. One advantage of the fetal Doppler over a purely acoustic fetal stethoscope is the electronic audio output, which allows people other than the user to hear the heartbeat. In some models, a headset can be plugged in to the audio output of the fetal Doppler so that both mother and doctor can hear the baby’s heartbeat at the same time. The session can be recorded as well.
A major advantage of being able to record and share the recording from the fetal Doppler is that it can be emailed to your doctor to be checked if there are any concerns about whether or not it is the baby’s heart rate and whether or not is normal. The fetal Doppler works from about 12 weeks of pregnancy.