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Baby Beats deluxe Doppler on review

Baby bonding or just simple reassurance from early in pregnancy

Posted: 7 November 2005
by ThinkBaby

Baby Beats Deluxe Doppler

Simple, quick and very rewarding
Nothing really, at our most nit-picky we'd say the battery is a little difficult to remove
Features: Compact ultra-sound unit with both audio for detecting baby's heartbeat and digital display to track heartrate. Comes with a travel bag
Price: £129.99 RRP
Suitability: Pregnancy from 10 weeks at earliest

The concept:
Simple as pie. Baby Beats' home doppler is designed for you to have the benefit of tracking and listening to your baby's heartbeat in the comfort of your own home. The idea is that you can bond with your baby, along with the rest of your family, as well as reassure yourself that all is well with the little one and have warning if baby's heartbeat is unusual

In action:
After one week we already love this Doppler. From arrival to hearing the reassuringly robust pounding sound of our developing baby's heartbeat took all of five minutes.

The set was surprisingly small to us - though we haven't had use of a doppler in a hospital to compare it with. The compact unit is attached to a small obelisk-shaped detection device that's easy to hold and guide. A single button controls on, off and volume control, which can be slightly awkward until you realise that to turn the unit off you need to press the entire button and not just the centre as the labelling seems to indicate. Once you've realised that though it couldn't be easier.

To use the unit you smear some ultrasound gel on the flat metal base of the detection 'pen' and then place it against your abdomen - if you haven't yet experienced an ultrasound before then be prepared for the gel to be a little cold! At first you're likely to hear stomach rumblings and your own heartrate, which will usually be obvious as it should be well below 100 bpm unless you've been exerting yourself. With usage you get quicker at locating your baby's heartbeat, with its distinctive pace and sound. Obviously as the pregnancy progesses and your baby moves about, the ideal place to hear the heartbeat will move too.

The digital display of the deluxe doppler shows when you've got a heartbeat with a flashing heart and, when you've got the optimal hearing position, with a larger heart. After a few moments it also displays a heartrate reading. Here's where you need little patience as it's tempting to move around the device constantly in search of the best signal but if you do this it seems more difficult for it to pick up a steady signal and the digital display flickers through a range of rates. Finding a good signal and holding it steady seems to yield more steady results. The heartrate you pick up should be between 120 and 160 bpm, if you're stressed, overtired or have been consuming alcohol or smoking then your baby's heartbeat will probably reflect this with a higher reading. If the reading is below 100 or above 190 then it's recommended that you inform your doctor. Make sure you're tracking the baby's heartrate and not your own though.

Our first use of the unit was at bang-on 13 weeks, and we were suprised by how clear and strong the sound of the heartbeat already was, to be honest at that early stage we'd expected to have to hunt around a bit for a signal rather than finding it within moments. Using the doppler has proved a big hit, particularly with my husband who loves being able to make a connection with the baby, and hearing how very real it is. Baby listening has become a bit of an evening past-time in our household.

Why bother?:
With just occasional use, the doppler is great for giving expectant mums and dads the reassurance of knowing that their baby has a healthy heatbeat. This is no small thing for those parents whose NHS area only arranges for one ultrasound for the duration of a pregnancy. Besides the reassurance, some parents might like the opportunity to feel close to their baby and involve their partner or other children to help prepare them for the new arrival.

There's another way in which the doppler is a useful pregnancy accessory, in that it helps you see the effects on your baby's heartbeat of when you have over-reached yourself, when you're emotionally stressed, or when you smoke, drink alcohol or use other drugs. If you work in a stressful environment and suspect it may be impacting on your baby, or if you smoke or drink, then listening to how these can make your baby's heartbeat race may help push you to make the changes you need to your lifestyle for your baby's health.

Reliability & value:
As we've only been using the Baby Beats doppler for a week or so it's a little premature for us to make a judgement on reliability. So far though, no problems, and the novelty has yet to wear off.

The ThinkBaby verdict

Super-simple to use, reassuring for parents and a great tool for family bonding. If you're the type to breeze through pregnany feeling great and very sure that all is well then it won't be something you'll want to shell out for as it's not a cheap pregnancy indulgence. But depending on your circumstances you might find it a small price to pay for on-tap reassurance or early-warning. Sell-on value should be reasonably high in the secondhand market, and if the price is simply out of your range you could consider hiring one.
Performance: 5/5
Value: 4/5

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