Fetal Heart Monitor

The Baby Beat or Doppler fetal heart monitor is a type of ultrasound apparatus that allows you to gauge your baby’s heartbeat from ten weeks into your pregnancy and on. The process of monitoring baby’s heart beat in the uterus of a woman and at the time of labor is called fetal heart monitoring.

This exercise is performed to monitor the baby’s heart beat and check for inconsistency between the beats. The tests may also indicate the frequency and strength of uterine contractions. At your regular visits, you must have been thrilled to hear the fetal heart beating. This device that allows this uses a prod to sense high frequency sound waves that are formed by your baby’s heart. To help hear these sound waves, a gel/ oil or water solution is applied onto your abdomen. The prod is moved around this area until your child’s heartbeat is detected.

Once the sound waves are captured, they are then transmitted from the probe to the Doppler fetal heartbeat monitor, which intensifies the sound for you to listen. During labor and delivery the fetus heart rate is monitored. Changes to fetal heartbeat whilst giving birth can signify labor impediments that entail emergency care.

Fetal heart monitors come in various forms and techniques. The sensing can be done inside the uterus (internal monitoring) or outside of the body (external monitoring). Internal monitoring is the more invasive procedure of monitoring the heartbeat of the child. However, external monitoring entails various devices that need not be invasive, like fetoscope, baby Doppler heart rate monitor, non-stress and contraction tests.

The normal test results display a rate between 120 and 160 beats/ minute; this sign ensures that the baby is under normal conditions. The heart beat may differ from 5 – 25 beats/minute from the normal fetal heart rate. However, the baby’s heart beat may jump down during contractions. This is considered to be normal as long as the heart rate picks up quickly, once the contraction is stopped.

At the time of labor or delivery, the baby’s heart beat alters in response to labor contractions. Some rise and fall while delivering is normal and can vary between 120 and 160 beats/minute.
An abnormal fetal heart beat shows the baby is in some form of stress. A number of conditions can cause an abnormal heart rate at the time labor and delivery, including

• fetal heart problems
• insufficient oxygen reaching the fetus
• placental abruption
• fetal infection
• umbilical cord compression

The fetal heart beat monitors do not stress your baby and they are safe for use. There are various types of devices available in the market. All you expecting mother will be enthralled to know that there are handheld devices that can be uses at home and at your comfort zone.

These tools are battery operated and easy to use. All you need to do is just place this device just above the pubic bone and listen the beats. Tilt the device at different angles until you hear your baby’s heart beat. You just need to count the number of beats for ten seconds and multiply by the number six to get beats/minute. However, you need not worry yourself too much about the calculation part. Just hearing the heartbeat will suffice for most situations.