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I bought one of these second hand from Ebay when I was around 9 weeks pregnant with my second baby. I was originally pregnant with twins but sadly lost one at around 8 week mark, so I figured this would help to set my mind at rest and for me to relax a bit.
I started trying to find the babies heartbeat at around 9-10 weeks but to no avail, which did panic me a bit but luckily at that time I was still getting scanned fairly regularly at EPU. It wasn't until I was around the 17 week mark I managed to detect the heartbeat for the first time myself.
I got a bottle of gel from ebay also and read a few online tips. Basically the baby is generally lower than you think! I placed the monitor right down under my belly pretty much in my pubic area and managed to detect the heartbeat. I also managed to find the placenta I think it was which actually sounded like wind blowing through a tunnel.
My model is a basic one so I had to manually cound beats per minute, a good tip here is count for 10 seconds then times it by 6. I would have considered upgrading to a better model with a heartrate display but by time I had located the heartbeat with this one I was feeling movements so was reassured by them. I would recommend this product but I wouldn't pay a lot for it, like I said my one was second hand and I think it was £10. If I was spending more than that I would want more than the basic model personally.
The Angelsounds Jumper JPD-100S is a cheap, compact, home Doppler that can be used from around twelve weeks of pregnancy to listen in to baby and so provide some reassurance and allow bonding. Costing just shy of £20, this hand-held device is supplied with everything you need to spy on your little one, including the unit, earphones, line in cable, ultrasound gel, battery, poorly translated instructions and even a couple of mini CDs to record onto.
I love the way this little machine fits neatly in my hand, meaning that I can easily manoeuvre it over my rapidly growing belly to find where my Twiglet is hiding. I also love the reassurance this has given me that Twiglet is doing fine, at 18 weeks I can hear the heartbeat, placenta and Twiglet's movements and just as importantly so can Daddy and Big Brother. The fact that ultrasound gel is included means that I didn't have to buy some before using the Doppler, but be warned the tube is very small so you will want to buy some more.
What are not quite so good are the earphones, they feel very cheap and were uncomfortable in my ears, so they were quickly replaced with a pair that fitted better, thanks to the standard earphone socket. I've also found the line in cable to be less than satisfactory, it doesn't transfer sound into a laptop at a loud enough volume, meaning recordings are far too quiet. A great way round this is to use a cheap cable that simply runs from the earphone socket, doing this I've managed to make a great recording of Twiglet to pass on to other relatives.
I've been using this little machine from about 10 weeks and at that early point it took a lot of patience to hear anything, but I would sometimes find the placenta and once found the heartbeat by looking very low near my pelvis. By 16 weeks I could easily find the heartbeat, as I can now at 18 and I find that listening for a few seconds once a day has really helped reassure me that everything is going well, which has greatly reduced my stress levels as I have a history of miscarriage. In the very early days though, I did have to remind myself that it can be hard to find the heartbeat when baby is very small and I would suggest searching on You Tube for videos demonstrating where to look and what to listen for.
While this is in no way a replacement for proper medical care, I cannot recommend this particular Doppler enough. Not only is it cheaper than most other models, but it is also more compact and it actually works. So I'm giving out four stars out of five with it losing that one for the poor earphones.