I live n NYC. My colleague Jill Gilbert is in San Francisco. Still, we just had a bonding moment listening to the beat of her unborn baby’s heart. It tugged at my heart strings to hear the little peapod kerthumping away. Best of all, Jill wasn’t in the doctor’s office lying on some unpleasant exam table, she was in the comfort of her own home using her Bellabeat, the first at-home sonogram that uses a mobile phone or tablet to share the data it collects with your world.
The Bellabeat hardware is a thin, cell phone sized, mini-sonogram device that attaches to your phone or tablet (iOS or Android). You’ll also need to plug a set of earphones (not supplied) into your mobile device to detect the heartbeat. And it comes with a tube of that cold, gooey lubricant gel.
Download the app onto your phone, goop up your belly and place hardware — you’re off on your discovery. Moving the device around your belly (just like you’ve seen countless doctors do) you can hear the heartbeat and even register the beats per second.
“I was twelve weeks pregnant but it didn’t feel real,” said Jill. “Hearing a heartbeat is mindblowing and reassuring; sharing it with friends and family is even better.”
Gilbert admits that the sound is clearer and stronger when the doctor performs a sonogram but sharing is the big win. As a matter of fact, according to the company, Bellabeat operates at a much lower frequency (10% of the acoustic power of the sonograph) for safety reasons. Whether you’ve got a partner who can’t be at the doctor with you, a parent who be geographically separated, or friends who just want to share the love, it’s the ability to quickly share that seems to resonant with women I spoke with about the product. (Note to the overanxious: the app tells you how many beats per minute but don’t panic. Babies in utero have a faster heartbeat than us groundlings, especially in the early months).
The Bellabeat app is well designed and easy to use. As your pregnancy progresses and the little ones begin getting restless, the app can monitor and record kicks. It also lets you record and share other developmental milestones to publicize to your network.
Sonograms are not new. They’ve been used since the late 1950’s. Home sonograms are not new. There are a number of them and they are less expensive than Bellebeat. But if it’s a shared experience and data collection that’s important to our pregnancy this is a fabulous gadget to take along for the journey at $129 it is the perfect Mother’s Day gift for mother’s to be.