For expectant mothers, finding a way to interact and connect with your child before they are born is oftentimes very important. Not just from a bonding standpoint, but also from a safety standpoint, mothers like having the option to monitor how their little one is doing. The easiest way to do that? A prenatal monitor!
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These monitors typically help you track and listen your baby’s heartbeat. Instead of having to wait until going to your next doctor’s appointment, you can listen right from the comfort of your own home! If you aren’t sure about the benefits of a prenatal monitor, or don’t know which is right for you, you’ve come to the right place. We have selected the ten best prenatal monitors and also have plenty of other information to help you make the right decision.
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Prenatal Monitors
Price is always a determining factor when making our decisions. This is especially true with non-necessary items such as a prenatal monitor. You do not need this item (unlike car seats, cribs, bottles, baby monitors etc.) so price is important when making the decision if you want to purchase it or not. It is a tech item so there will be a substantial cost involved, but we still look to find affordable options so that most parents can afford it should they want to use it.
User ratings are always important, and we especially took them into consideration when selecting prenatal monitors. Pregnancy can be a scary time, and the last thing a pregnant mother wants is a bad prenatal monitor that scares her into thinking something is wrong with her baby. Instead, we select monitors that parents enjoy using and have had success with.
It is always important to consider the manufacturer’s reputation when selecting items you will use with your child. We prefer to select items that have a solid reputation in the baby industry as being effective, easy to use, and most importantly, safe. Prenatal monitors are no different, and we only selected monitors that are safe for you to use during your pregnancy (always use as directed).
Ease of use
Finally, it is important to select items that are easy to use. The same goes for prenatal monitors. If it is incredibly difficult to find your child’s heartbeat, that can be very stressful. Instead, we selected monitors that parents found to be easy to use. Keep in mind, you should wait until the 16-week mark, but that will be the case for any monitor you select. After that point, all of these monitors should work great and you should easily be able to find a heartbeat.
Can a Prenatal Monitor Be Harmful in Any Way?
Generally, these devices are considered to be safe for you and your little one, but there is some debate about if they are actually safe to be used by non-professionals at home.
Possible Risks Involved
The possible problems that may be run into when it comes to using these at-home prenatal monitors have nothing to do with the device itself, as the monitors are completely safe. Instead, the problems arise due to the users being non-professionals and not knowing exactly how to use the devices. This can cause problems in a couple of different ways.
Not Finding the Heartbeat of Your Baby Can Cause You to Panic
This is usually the most common reason that professionals may suggest that you stay away from at-home prenatal monitors. Since you are not a trained professional, it may not be as easy for you to find your baby’s heartbeat. If you struggle to find your baby’s heartbeat, you may, understandably, panic that something is wrong with your baby. This will likely cause you to go see your pregnancy health care provider and make sure that everything is okay with your little one and chances are that everything is fine because there are many reasons that you may struggle to find your baby’s heartbeat using the at-home prenatal monitor.
Since you are not a trained medical professional, you won’t know the best techniques for finding the baby’s heartbeat. You may not know how to feel your belly to discover your baby’s position so that you know best where to place the at-home prenatal monitor to find their heartbeat. You also don’t know exactly what to listen for so you may not recognize your baby’s heartbeat when you do come across it. Additionally, you may find your baby’s heartbeat fine one day, but not be able to find it another day because your baby has changed their position in your womb.
Many mothers may buy this type of product in order to give themselves reassurance that everything is okay with their precious little one, but unfortunately, it can often cause the opposite effect. After all, if you are searching for your baby’s heartbeat and can’t seem to find it, it makes complete sense that you would be scared and may even panic thinking that something might be wrong with your baby.
At-Home Prenatal Monitors Can Give False Reassurance
Interesting enough, a much more dangerous effect that these prenatal monitors may have is actually the opposite of the first problem that they may cause. Using an at-home prenatal monitor can actually give you false reassurance that everything is okay with your baby even when it actually may not be okay at all. Many mothers feel as if they can hear their baby’s heartbeat that everything else must be just fine with their baby as well. Unfortunately, this is not the case at all.
The real danger with these products arises when a mother starts to experience signs that may mean that her baby is distressed. Often times, one of the most common of these possible signs of distress in an unborn baby is decreased fetal movement. A mother might experience this and then decide to check on her baby’s heartbeat using an at-home prenatal monitor. It’s perfectly likely that she could find her baby’s heartbeat no problem and then assume that everything is okay and not seek any help.
However, finding the baby’s heartbeat alone does not mean that nothing is wrong. The baby could be in distress and obviously, if they are still living, they would still have a heartbeat that may be found. If a mother is experiencing signs that her baby is in distress but then reassures herself that everything is okay because she found her baby’s heartbeat, this could have severe consequences. There is a chance that something is still wrong with the baby and without seeking help, the baby’s condition may worsen and the baby may even pass away in some cases.
Using an At-Home Prenatal Monitor Safely
Even though there can be these possible problems with a prenatal monitor used at home in a non-professional setting, there is nothing wrong with getting one and using it as long as you know what to expect and that you should not allow yourself to have these strong reactions to the prenatal monitor. Understand that as a non-professional, you may not always be able to find your little one’s heartbeat, but that does not mean that something is wrong. It likely just means that your little one is in a difficult or different position. If you aren’t having any other signs of any problems, don’t worry too much about it and just try again at another time or on another day.
Similarly, if you are having problems of some kind, such as noticing a drop in prenatal movement, you should seek help immediately. Go to your pregnancy health care provider. Don’t even bother checking your baby’s heartbeat yourself if there is a potentially serious problem. Even if you do find the heartbeat, it doesn’t mean that everything is okay. Going to your health care provider is the best way to determine that. Overall, the thing you need to remember with these monitors is that they are for fun and are not to be used for real medical purposes in a non-professional environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are prenatal monitors safe?
A: Yes. It is safe for you to use a prenatal monitor during your pregnancy. These monitors use the same technology that ultrasound devices at a doctor’s office use. With low levels of power and safe ultrasound waves, these devices are safe and will not harm your baby. However, it is dangerous if you choose to use an at-home device instead of going to a doctor. Never use an at home monitor in place of visiting a doctor. Should you notice something off when using your monitor at home, immediately schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN.
Q: When can I use a prenatal monitor?
A: Prenatal monitors work best once a baby has developed a strong enough heartbeat that you will be able to detect. In perfect conditions, you can start to hear a heartbeat at around 8 weeks. However, it is difficult at this stage to hear a heartbeat, which can be alarming to expectant mothers. This is not a sign that something is wrong, you are just too early in your pregnancy. It is best to wait until 16 weeks to start trying to find a heartbeat. By this point, your baby’s heartbeat will be much stronger and you will have a much easier time detecting it. Should you try while between 8 and 16 weeks pregnant, do not be alarmed if you don’t find one. Also, be sure to use a good ultrasound gel to help reduce static. This will make it even easier for you to detect and hear the heartbeat.
Q: How does a prenatal monitor work?
A: The main type of prenatal monitor is a doppler monitor. These monitors work via the Doppler effect. The probe of your monitor will send out an ultrasound wavelength and reflect or “bounce” off of your baby’s heart. The device monitors the change in frequency and wavelength in order to determine the heartbeat rate. The waves are translated into sound, which is what you hear and recognize as a heartbeat. The number is also calculated and displayed if you have a monitor that includes a screen.
There you have it! These are the ten best prenatal monitors on the market today. Depending on the specific features you want, you will be able to make the right decision. Here is some more helpful info to ensure your monitor functions well, as well as some FAQ and other criteria we follow when creating our guides.