For some women, using their Doppler is as simple as turning it on and pointing the probe at their belly. For others, it takes a bit of getting used to. Follow these tips to make using your Doppler easier.

  • Think of using the doppler like standing at the door of a dark room and looking for something with a torch. Walking around the room probably won’t help, but systematically covering the room by changing the angle of the beam will. In the same way – don’t move the doppler probe all over your belly. Just change the angle of the probe so it’s aiming into slightly different areas. Remember – the heart is tiny, so just a tiny change in angle may be enough to pick up the heartbeat. Move slowly, as it’s easily missed.
  • Aim the probe very low if you are under 12 weeks. Start with the probe at the pubic bone. You may even need to angle the probe so it points underneath the pubic bone.
  • Don’t move the probe around on your stomach. Instead, keep it in one place and move it like a ‘joystick’ so it’s aiming into different areas in your belly. Don’t move on until you’re sure you won’t find the heartbeat.
  • Don’t worry about what the doppler’s display is doing until after you’ve got a fix on the heartbeat – you’ll know when this happens because you’ll hear it. It’s only then that the software will calculate and display the FHR (fetal heartrate).
  • Once you find the heartbeat, it takes the Doppler’s programming a few seconds to calculate the heartbeat rate. Hold the probe steady while this happens.
  • Your baby may be jumping around like a little bean, so the Doppler may lose & regain tracking of the heartbeat.
  • You’ll always have more luck with a full bladder, especially earlier on.
  • Once you are later on in pregnancy, you will probably need to move further up your belly and to one side.
  • You need a good glob of ultrasound gel to sit the probe in. Don’t smear it around your belly.
  • Loads of static can be a sign of too much air in the gel, not enough gel – or too much gut noise!
  • Email or call us for help if you need to!


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