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Frequently Asked Questions

Is fetal doppler use safe for my baby?

Yes, Tummy Tickles baby dopplers are manufactured in the USA by industry leaders and meet or exceed the standards set out by the FDA and Health Canada. Fetal dopplers are approved for personal use at home and do not require a prescription. The waves emitted by a fetal doppler baby monitor are far lower than those put out by an ultrasound (sonogram) machine and use probes at a much lower frequency.

As always with any questions regarding your pregnancy, if you have any concerns about the safety of baby dopplers we suggest you consult with your healthcare provider.  

What is the difference between a Fetal Doppler and an Ultrasound Machine?

There appears to be some confusion surrounding the percieved differences between the ulrasound machines (sonogram machines) used to obtain an image and fetal heartbeat doppler monitors which allow you to listen to your baby's heartbeat.

Although both technologies use sound waves to obtain information, the waves from an ultrasound machine are much, much stronger (over 40 times) than that of a fetal doppler heartbeat monitor. Also, the frequency and variation of probe use (between 5-10 mhz probes) and output levels (up to 740mw/cm2) require that only a trained ultrasound technician perform an ultrasound. A fetal doppler baby heartbeat monitor only has one probe (3 mhz) and one output level (less than 20 mw/cm2) so it can be easily and safely used by anyone.

Also, a fetal doppler is not the same thing as a blood flow doppler (used to check for abnormalities in the umbillical cord). Ultrasound machines used to obtain pictures along with fetal doppler umbillical cord testing are medical proceedures that should only be performed by a licenced technician. Fetal heartbeat monitors have been used for well over 50 years and are approved for use at home by pregnant women by Health Canada and the FDA. 

Doppler ultrasound is regulated by Health Canada and  the FDA. Over 50 years of studies have shown no harmful effects on the fetus or mother.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding the rental of a fetal doppler for home use please speak with your healthcare provider.

Do I need my doctor's approval to rent a baby doppler?

No you do not need to have your doctor's approval to rent a fetal doppler in Canada, no prescriptions or referrals are necessary. However you may find it helpful to bring your baby doppler to your next visit so that your doctor can assist you with proper use. And we always recommend that our customers discuss renting or purchasing a baby doppler with thier care provider if possible. 

We receive many referrals from doctors and midwives, fetal doppler use is considered to be a safe and effective way to help ease pregnancy concerns. 

How early can your dopplers detect the heartbeat?

Our dopplers are the same medical grade dopplers that your doctor uses and are able to detect a fetal heartrate as early as 8-10 weeks. However, due to factors such as, the position of the fetus, size and shape of mother's uterus, size of the mother's body some people may not be able to hear the heartbeat until closer to 10-12 weeks (very tall and/or overweight people may have more difficulties hearing the heartbeat before 10 or 12 weeks). 

We send out surveys with each of our dopplers and the majority of customers report hearing the heartbeat between 8-12 weeks with little problem. It really depends on so many factors as to how early you will hear the heartbeat but on average, most people seem to agree that our dopplers are very easy to use. 

Of those surveyed:

5% were able the hear the heartbeat at 7 weeks

60% were able to hear the heartbeat at 8 weeks

75% were able to hear the heartbeat at 9 weeks

85% were able the hear the heartbeat at 10 weeks

90% were able the hear the heartbeat at 11-12 weeks



I am overweight, can I still use a 3Mhz probe?

Yes, although you may want to wait until after 10 or 12 weeks to order. Some people who are overweight may not be able to detect the heartbeat as early as 8-10 weeks, however, after 12 weeks most people of all shapes and sizes can pick up the heartbeat with a baby doppler rather easily.

A baby doppler with a 3MHz probe is usually better at picking up a heartbeat in the early weeks (in averaged sized women), a 2Mhz probe is better for picking up an early heartbeat in overweight people. After 12 weeks though there is usually no difference in 2 or 3 MHz probes. Once the baby moves up out of the pelvic region (after about 12 weeks) the heartbeat is pretty easy to find with either probe.

If you are overweight you may want to wait until after 10 weeks to order your fetal doppler so that you are not caused any unnecessary worry. Not finding the baby's heartbeat is NOT a sign that something is wrong with your baby. Some people, with extra weight or who have deeper pelvic cavities take a bit longer to find the heartbeat. Most people however, can locate it pretty easily after about 10-12 weeks.

I am having trouble hearing my baby's heartbeat, does that mean something is wrong?

No, not at all. Not finding the heartbeat is NOT a sign that something is wrong with your baby. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get used to using a fetal doppler, especially in the first trimester. Make sure that you are using a good amount of gel and place the probe directly on top of the gel (the gel acts as the transducing agent). Please refer to our 'Tips for Successful Doppler Use' manual that you recieved with your package. If you are still having trouble finding the heartbeat with your baby doppler feel free to call or email us, we are happy to help.

I am from the US, can I order from you?

Absolutely, we ship all dopplers to all 50 states and we charge your card in the currency your order is being shipped to. You can use your US credit card to order a fetal doppler from our site.

I have run out of gel what should I use?

You may either purchase more from us her to use with your fetal doppler or your local medical supplies store should be able to help you. Aloe vera gel works well, is gentle enough for your skin and wont damage the probe. Hand cream or vaseline will also work although there is some speculation that it may cause damage to the probe.

What is the difference between a 3 Mhz and a 2 Mhz probe?

A 3 Mhz probe has a wider beam so it is more sensitive than a 2 Mhz probe and can pick up baby's heartbeat as early as 8-10 weeks gestation. A 2Mhz probe tends to work best after 10-12 weeks and on overweight or very tall women. Typically though, on average sized women a 3 Mhz probe work better early on and throughout the rest of pregnancy.

How can I record my baby's heartbeat?

Yes you can record the heartbeat to your computer and send to friends and relatives over email! We include a recording cable with each rental and easy to follow instructions. Most computers have some type of recording software that can be found in thier 'accessories' program files.

We also have a great recordable bear that can capture and save your baby's heartbeat. Also, our newest rental has a built in recording feature that will capture and keep a recording of your baby's heartbeat directly onto the doppler for you.

What do your dopplers come with?

All of our dopplers come with digital display with which you are able to see your baby's heartrate (the number of beats per minute). Our dopplers come complete with an information pamphlet, convenient carrying case and one 100ml tube of gel. 

How do I return my doppler?

Returning your doppler is easy and free of charge! When you are ready to return, make sure that you call or email us to let us know, Package your baby doppler in its original box, attach the return shipping label and take it to the nearest post office. Due to strict customs regulations, free return is available in Canada only. US residents are responsible for the charges of returning the doppler to us.

How long can I keep my doppler?

You can keep your doppler for as long as you wish. When you are ready to return the doppler simply notify us to put your account on hold and place in in the mail using your prepaid return slip.

What is your return policy? We offer a 7 day money back guarantee on all of our doppler rentals and purchases. If for any reason you are unsatisfied with your doppler, simply call or email us within 7 days and we will offer you a full refund, less the shipping charges.

Do you sanitize the dopplers?

Yes, absolutely! Our baby dopplers are all thoroughly sanitized and professionally repackaged after each fetal doppler rental. 

I am hearing two heartbeats, does this mean I am having twins?

No not necessarily. It is possible to hear your own heartbeat in your abdomen as well as your baby's heartbeat. Hearing your own heartbeat with a fetal doppler baby heartbeat monitor is very normal and will likely be the first sound you hear. Just keep moving the probe slowly around and you will likely hear the baby's heartbeat very close to where you find your own. A heartbeat below 120 beats per minute is likely yours, the baby's heartbeat will be significantly higher, usually 140 beats per minute or higher.

Also, it is very possible to hear the heartbeat in more than one place especially later on in pregnancy. If you are picking up a heartbeat in two locations at roughly the same rate (within 10 bpm or so) then assume its just a single baby's heartbeat in two places. However, if you are picking up a heartbeat in two locations at drastically and differentiating beats per minute (ei: one is 130 and one is 160) then that may be an indication of twins. However, twin pregnancies are quite rare and the only way to really know if you are having twins, is to consult your physician

What is considered normal for a fetal heart rate?

A normal fetal heart rate is usually between 120 and 180 beats per minute and vary according to fetal age and activity level at the time. However it is possible to pick up your own heartbeat as well which will likely be below 120 beats per minute. 

How much gel should I use? You need to use about a quarter sized blob at first, do not rub it into your skin but rather place the probe directly on top of the gel. The gel acts as a transducing agent and will help to give you an accurate heart rate display and good clear sound.