A fetal doppler, also known as a baby heartbeat monitor, allows you to monitor the beating heart of a developing fetus while it is still in the womb. Using the doppler effect to create sound waves similar to those used in sonar, these devices can recreate an audio representation of the sound of your baby's heart. Many people say that the first time their developing baby was really "real" to them was in the doctor's office when they heard its heart beating or saw it on the sonogram for the first time.

Listening to the beating heart of your unborn baby can be a moving, powerful experience that can help create an unbreakable bond between you. While once limited to the doctor's office, now there are a variety of baby heart monitors that can be used in the privacy and convenience of your own home. The problem is that with so many different models on the market, how do you choose? Read on to find out about the features you may be interested in.

Is It Easy to Use?
While most baby heartbeat monitor devices will operate in a similar manner, there may be a few minute differences that you will want to keep in mind. Models using a frequency of 3GHz tend to be the most effective in most cases and are the easiest to use. The probe should also fit easily in your hand with no discomfort, and the controls should be simple and easy to understand.

Think about creating a recording of your baby's heart that you can keep for all time with the baby's first haircut or footprints. An audio CD of the fetal heartbeat can be a wonderful keepsake to add to the collection.

Most modern baby heart monitors will have some type of recording capability. They will usually connect to a computer through the USB port. From there, you can either save the file to your PC or you can burn an audio CD of it that you can hold on to or distribute to distant friends and family.

FDA Approval
Baby heart monitors fall under the eye of the FDA to ensure their safety and effectiveness. When shopping, be sure to choose a model that has FDA approval. This means that it has undergone extensive testing to ensure that it is safe to use on your baby.

Battery Life
You will find that most models have a battery life ranging anywhere from 100 hours to 200 hours and up. To be sure that you have the best possible, select one that uses either a 9V alkaline battery or gives you the option of plugging it in.

Should You Rent or Purchase?
While a baby heartbeat monitor can be a valuable purchase if you intend to have more than one baby, it may not be as valuable if you are going to only have one. That doesn't mean that you have to go without, however. There are many companies willing to rent you a fetal doppler for the term of your pregnancy for a monthly fee. Just make sure that if you rent, you rent from a reputable company that sterilizes the devices after each rental.

There are many things to consider when you are choosing a baby heart monitor. There are dozens of models and manufacturers, so it is best to do your research and choose carefully. The magic of hearing your baby's heartbeat is worth it.