fetaldopplerFACTS.org
PMG/NanoMedica
BabyCom

Suggested Retail Price $200

The BabyCom baby heart monitor is manufactured in Israel by PMG/NanoMedica, a small medical development firm committed to producing products at affordable prices using piezomicromechanics. Founded in 1999 by two scientists that previously made their living in defense, the BabyCom baby heart monitor is their first product. In the new but bourgeoning market of home fetal monitoring the BabyCom baby heart monitor attempts to give expecting parents an affordable alternative to renting. At a retail price of $145.95 the BabyCom baby heart monitor succeeds in affordability but as we found falls short in overall quality. Reportedly, PMG claims that because of a "wide angle beam" the BabyCom baby heart monitor is much more mother friendly than other professional grade medical baby heartbeat monitors. This marketing technique might work on expecting mothers but not us. The width of the beam depends on the mghz. All baby heart monitors designed for fetal heartbeat monitoring is equipped with either a 2 or 3mghz probe. With a 2mghz probe the beam is narrow and direct which helps it penetrate deeper and find the fetal heartbeat earlier than 3mghz dopplers. The BabyCom baby heart monitor is equipped with a 2.5 mghz probe which means that its wavelength is actually smaller than a 3mghz probe and counter to the NanoMedica's claim that the BabyCom is easier to use for this reason. Most baby heart monitor with the exception of Huntleigh's line of Dopplex fetal dopplers com equipped with a 3mghz probe.

Keeping the above information in mind one would think that because the BabyCom baby heart monitor uses a 2.5mghz probe one might be able to find the fetal heartbeat earlier than a baby heart monitor equipped with a 3mghz probe. In our tests this wasn't the case. We believe many factors contributed to this including sound projection (speaker), poor or no static reducing technology, probe surface area and design. However, given the price tag we understand how many of these important characteristics were overlooked.

As with all the other baby heart monitors we put to the test we began listening at 8 weeks and once every week to term. With the BabyCom baby heart monitor we were not able to find the heartbeat on any of our test mothers until after the 12 th week. Some test participants not until the 15th and 16th week. Contrary to the marketing material we had a difficult time consistently finding the heartbeat with ease until well into the 20 th week. Even after the 20 th week the sound quality that we did receive was extremely poor. One other down side to this baby heart monitor was the digital display. During many of the exams, once we found the heartbeat the display had a very hard time keeping the signal and giving a consistent valid heart rate. We think it's important to understand that the fetal doppler is not for entertainment purposes and though the BabyCom baby heart monitor is affordable its quality is seriously lacking. This raises several concerns the most important of which is that quality readings and sound are integral when seeking to monitor the well being of a growing baby.

Our final opinion on the BabyCom baby heart monitor is that it's an expensive novelty item and we don't believe that the fetal doppler is a novelty. With this in mind, if you're one of the ever increasing expectant mothers in the market for a baby heart monitor to really begin the bond with your unborn baby as well as monitor the well being of your growing baby and can't afford to purchase a medical grade version, rent! Most baby heart monitor rental companies rent to own and if you're planning on having more than one child you'll have almost purchased your baby heart monitor through your rental payments by the time you bring your baby to term. Lastly, if you do go ahead and purchase a BabyCom baby heart monitor it will perform its function later in pregnancy just be aware of its limitations and quality. In this instance, you get what you pay for!

Durability

The BabyCom baby heart monitor is large and cumbersome in its design. The main casing that holds the probe when not in use is difficult to hold when performing an exam. It appears as if it is designed to sit on a counter or hard surface during an exam but when we attempted to do this the cord connecting the probe wasn't long enough and the lightweight base easily pulled right off the surface. Be careful not to drop the base as our guess is that one fall to the ground will leave the baby heart monitor inoperable and not be covered by your warranty. On our BabyCom baby heart monitor we had trouble with the volume control which came loose and fell inside the transducer. Once we opened up the probe and found the screw that came loose we were able to fix it but this is just another example of its cheapness.

Features
Warranty

The BabyCom baby heart monitor has a 1 year warranty against manufacturer's defects

Specifications
Oscillator Frequency (Mhz) 2.5
US intensity, max (mW/cm2) 15
FHR Range (bpm) 50-210
Battery Voltage 9V
Battery Life 250 Operation minutes
Operating Temperature 0-40 C
Dimensions (mm) 130 (W)x 105(D)x 220(H)
Current Consumption 70mA
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