No matter how much you want a baby, facing pregnancy after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or other loss can be nerve-wracking. Dealing with a loss steals your innocence about pregnancy; it's not uncommon to face debilitating anxiety during a new pregnancy when you have a negative experience with a previous one.
One way that some women cope with the stress and anxiety of pregnancy after loss is to rent or buy a Doppler-based fetal heart rate monitor (a.k.a. baby doppler). The monitors can cost hundreds of dollars to purchase, but online retailers offer them for rent in the range of $20 per month, or for a flat fee for the duration of a pregnancy. Most retailers require a prescription from a physician in compliance with FDA regulations.
Some doctors feel that using baby dopplers at home is a great way for women to reassure themselves that everything is OK and reduce anxiety. Others are skeptical or outright opposed to the practice for fear that the devices will either increase anxiety or provide false reassurances. Both sides have valid points.
Baby dopplers are typically hand-held devices that use ultrasound waves to detect a developing baby's heartbeat from outside the mother's abdomen. Usually, the devices can detect the heartbeat starting around the seventh to twelfth week of pregnancy (based on the last menstrual period), though there is a lot of variation based on the individual.
Physicians and midwives often use Doppler devices to monitor the baby's heart rate as a standard part of prenatal care. Detecting the baby's heartbeat is reassuring to moms but also provides the physician with information that helps in tracking the baby's development.
Doppler fetal heart monitors are FDA-approved (assuming you have a physician to advise you on use) and considered safe.