Tips on Doppler use

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  • A full bladder often helps
  • Early in pregnancy it is good to start in the middle of the abdomen (in line with the belly button) but right above the pubic hair line
  • Move the probe slowly - it is easy to scan over the heartbeat
  • Tilt the probe downward toward the pubic bone
  • Use a tablespoon-size amount of ultrasound gel to improve the quality of the sound
  • It is normal at times to pick up the baby's heartbeat in more than one place. You may hear the same heartbeat a few inches apart - do not be alarmed, the Doppler is just intersecting the heart in a different location. Physicians listen for the difference in two heartbeats to determine if there are two fetuses.
  • If you are carrying twins, it can be difficult to distinguish between heartbeats (even physicians have a hard time with this). It is best to count the heartbeats and find two different rates.
  • If you canít hear anything, then donít panic. Often, especially early on, it can take a while to detect the heartbeat. If unsuccessful, try going for a walk or doing some other activity to encourage the baby to change position.
  • The babyís heartbeat will be a lot faster than your own, nearly twice as fast, so it is easy to get confused to begin with as to which is your heartbeat and which is the fetal heartbeat. It is a good idea to take your pulse-rate when you come across a heartbeat to give you some idea as the whether it is yours or the fetal heartbeat.
  • You will hear lots of other sounds with your Doppler. These include the placenta, which can be heard as a whooshing sound and the crashing and banging of your baby moving about.


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