Doppler Monitor

What does the Doppler monitor do? What am I listening to?

Question

The Doppler monitor showed two different sounds in the womb. Can you tell me what these different sounds are?

Answer

Using the Doppler machine, which looks like a small microphone, we can usually hear the heartbeat by 12 weeks. Of course, we can see it about six weeks before this with ultrasound.

To hear the baby's heartbeat with a stethoscope is usually more difficult and doesn't normally work until the third trimester.

The two different sounds that you hear on the Doppler most likely are the actual baby's heartbeat and your heartbeat, which is about half the rate of the baby's.

Also keep in mind that the sound you hear varies depending on where the doctor places the monitor. In other words, if the monitor is placed directly over the baby's heart, you will hear a cloppity-clop sound, like horse hooves. If the monitor is placed over the umbilical cord, you will hear a swoosh-swoosh sound. Both of these sounds are normal.

The only way to accurately diagnose twins is by ultrasound.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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