The fetal Doppler, or Doppler, is an ultrasound baby heartbeat monitor that a caregiver can use to find the baby’s heartbeat.

The caregiver will cover it with ultrasound gel and move it around on the belly until they find a spot where the heartbeat can be detected. The Doppler sends and receives sound waves that bounce off the baby’s heart. In this way the fetal Doppler makes the baby’s heartbeats loud enough for the mother and the caregiver to hear.

Originally intended for use by health care professionals, there are now smaller Fetal Doppler devices that can be purchased for personal use. The United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning against using “over the counter” fetal dopplers for personal use.

“When the product is purchased over the counter and used without consultation with a health care professional taking care of the pregnant woman, there is no oversight of how the device is used. Also, there is little or no medical benefit expected from the exposure,” says Shahram Vaezy, Ph.D., an FDA biomedical engineer. “Furthermore, the number of sessions or the length of a session in scanning a fetus is uncontrolled, and that increases the potential for harm to the fetus and eventually the mother.”


Photo by Harmid - Public Domain

Photo by Harmid – Public Domain


Doppler fetal monitor. (2016, October 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:39, October 9, 2016, from