Is Home Fetal Doppler Use Okay in Pregnancy?

Midwife checking a pregnant woman's baby heartbeat with a doppler fetal monitor
This is a device used to listen to your baby's heart beat in pregnancy. It is most frequently used from 12 weeks gestation through the end of pregnancy. It is used in many prenatal care settings. Oleksiy Maksymenko / Getty Images

A fetal doppler is a hand-held, ultrasound device used by some practitioners to hear your baby's heartbeat at prenatal appointments. Other devices can also be used to hear your baby's heartbeat. Fetal dopplers are approved for use as a medical device. Recently, the question of home fetal doppler use has come up. There are many places that rent fetal dopplers for use by individuals.

Many pregnant people may wonder if it Is home fetal doppler use okay in pregnancy. Women who use a fetal doppler at home say that they wish to monitor their baby's well-being and to reassure themselves that the baby is alive.

This can be particularly desirable in the early weeks before the baby's kicks can be felt. Mothers who have experienced previous miscarriage or stillbirth may also be drawn to the perceived reassurance that a fetal doppler could provide.

While there is not believed to be any harm with occasional use by a medical professional, home fetal doppler use does not fall into this category. Many families use the doppler for much longer periods than they may experience with their practitioner and for more frequent uses — think once a day versus once a month at a prenatal visit.


There are three common risks to home fetal doppler use:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) opposes home fetal doppler use, even when prescribed by an online physician.

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2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Avoid Fetal "Keepsake" Images, Heartbeat Monitors.

  2. Aust T, Ankers D, Famoriyo A. Caution with home fetal Doppler devicesBmj. 2009;339(aug18 2). doi:10.1136/bmj.b3220

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