What is an Electronic Fetal Heart Monitoring?
Home Baby Heartbeat or Electronic Ultrasound Fetal Doppler monitoring is done during pregnancy, labor, and delivery to keep track of the heart rate of your baby (fetus) and the strength and duration of the contractions of your uterus. Your baby's heart rate is a good way to tell whether your baby is doing well or may have some problems.
Are Fetal Dopplers safe to use?
Absolutely. Fetal Dopplers or Electronic Baby Heart Monitors are completely safe to use with no known risks to the baby or the mother from having these ultrasound scans when used according to the product's guidelines. It is important to check that the Fetal Doppler conforms to Food and Drug Administrations safety standards and, when buying your own, that it comes with a warranty.
- National Health Society (http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/ultrasound-anomaly-baby-scans-pregnant.aspx)
Should I Buy or Rent a Fetal Doppler to use?
There are a lot of different ways to obtain a Fetal Doppler for use. Many times it is more cost effective to purchase your own Fetal Doppler instead of renting. Why rent a used pre-owned Fetal Doppler for more money than buying your own personal brand new fetal Doppler from an FDA approved United States distributor.
How do Fetal Dopplers work?
These pocket-sized, battery-operated devices are easy to find for sale online. They usually have a handset with controls, a built-in speaker, and a transducer probe that you cover with ultrasound gel and hold against your lower abdomen.
The probe sends out high-frequency sound waves also known as Ultrasound Waves, which pass through your skin and tissue then into your baby. When the waves encounter movement, such as your baby's heart beating, they bounce back to the device. The device then translates the movement into sound, which the machine amplifies into sound for you to listen to.
What are Ultrasonic Waves?
Ultrasonic waves are acoustic sound energy waves in the frequency range above that of human hearing range.
When can I heard my Baby's Heartbeat?
The baby's heart starts to beat at around 6 weeks. You may be able to hear - and see - your baby's heart beat for the first time when you're about 8 weeks pregnant if you have an early ultrasound exam.
Otherwise, you'll probably first hear it with a fetal Doppler at a regular prenatal care visit. Your caregiver may be able to find it with the Doppler as early as 10 weeks, but it's more common to hear it at 12 weeks. How early the sound can be picked up depends on your baby's position in your uterus, your weight, and the accuracy of your due date.
What does my baby's heartbeat sound like?
Many women say that the beating of their baby's tiny heart sounds like the thunder of galloping horses. Hearing it for the first time can be very moving. The heart rate of a healthy baby in the womb ranges from about 120 to 160 beats per minute. A heartbeat that's much faster or slower than that may signal a heart problem.
What are congenital heart defects?
Congenital heart defects are problems with the heart's structure that are present at birth. These defects can involve the interior walls of the heart, the valves inside the heart and or the arteries and veins that carry blood to the heart or out to the body. Congenital heart defects change the normal flow of blood through the heart.
There are many types of congenital heart defects, ranging from simple defects with no symptoms to complex defects with severe, life-threatening symptoms.
Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect and affect 8 of every 1,000 newborns. Each year, more than 35,000 babies in the United States are born with congenital heart defects.
Many of these defects are simple conditions that are easily fixed or need no treatment. A small number of babies are born with complex congenital heart defects that require special medical care soon after birth.
Over the past few decades, the diagnosis and treatment of these complex defects has greatly improved. As a result, almost all children with complex heart defects survive to adulthood and can live active, productive lives.
Most people with complex heart defects continue to need special heart care throughout their lives. They may also need to pay special attention to how their condition may affect their health insurance, employment, pregnancy and contraception, and other health-related issues later in life.
In the United States, about 1 million adults are living with congenital heart defects.
What causes congenital heart defects?
If you have a child who has a congenital heart defect, you may think you did something wrong during your pregnancy to cause the problem. However, most of the time doctors don't know why congenital heart defects develop.
Heredity may play a role in some heart defects. For example, a parent who has a congenital heart defect may be more likely than other people to have a child with the condition. In rare cases, more than one child in a family is born with a heart defect.
Children who have genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, often have congenital heart defects. In fact, half of babies with Down syndrome have congenital heart defects. Also smoking during pregnancy has been linked to several congenital heart defects, including septal defects.
Scientists continue to search for the causes of congenital heart defects.
What are the signs and symptoms of congenital heart defects?
Many congenital heart defects have few or no signs or symptoms. A doctor may not even detect signs of a heart defect during a physical exam.
Some heart defects do have signs and symptoms. They depend on the number, type, and severity of the defects. Severe defects can cause signs and symptoms, usually in newborns. They may include:
- Rapid breathing
- Cyanosis (a bluish tint to the skin, lips, and fingernails)
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Poor blood circulation
Congenital heart defects don't cause chest pain or other painful symptoms.
Heart defects can cause abnormal blood flow through the heart that will make a certain sound called a heart murmur. Your doctor can hear a heart murmur with a stethoscope. However, not all murmurs are signs of congenital heart defects. Many healthy children have heart murmurs.
Normal growth and development depend on a normal workload for the heart and normal flow of oxygen-rich blood to all parts of the body. Babies who have congenital heart defects may have cyanosis or tire easily when feeding. As a result, they may not gain weight or grow, as they should.
Older children with congenital heart defects may get tired easily or short of breath during physical activity.
Many types of congenital heart defects cause the heart to work harder than it should. In severe defects, this can lead to heart failure. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Symptoms of heart failure include:
- Fatigue with physical activity
- Shortness of breath
- A buildup of blood and fluid in the lungs
- A buildup of fluid in the feet, ankles, and legs