One of the pivotal experiences for expecting parents is when they hear their unborn baby’s heartbeat for the first time. For many, this is a moment when it sinks in that they are bringing a new life into this world. In general, they get to have this experience when they are in a doctor’s office getting a prenatal checkup.
A new smartphone app hopes to bring this experience home in a way that makes it easy to share the excitement. The Shell from Bellabeat is a free app for iPhones that lets you hear, record, and share the sound of your baby’s heartbeat. Safe and non-invasive, it relies on the phone’s microphone to detect the sounds. It relies on a algorithm to filter out the sounds of the mother’s heartbeat and other background noise. You can also get the Shell add-on which is a physical attachment that fits on the bottom of the phone to double its efficiency at capturing the sounds.
It’s important to note what the app does not do. It does not attempt to determine the baby’s heart rate, and is simply designed to “increase the bonding experience” between parent and child. It is not a medical device, and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or to monitor the baby’s health. As a result, it’s not cleared by the FDA and is not intended to replace any professional prenatal checkups.