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Why not to use a Doppler

Friday, 14 November 2014  |  Admin

Why I implore you not to use a home Doppler.

This is something very close to my heart as a Midwife, and I know my colleagues all feel the same. Home Dopplers – handheld devices used to monitor a baby’s heartbeat – should not be used by anyone other than a healthcare professional who is trained to do so.

As a mother of three I know how scary pregnancy can be, and how it would be lovely to just have a little window in your belly so that you could see your little bean, but please don’t use a Doppler at home.

There are a few reasons for this:

- How would you know what a fetus in distress’ heartbeat would sound like?
- How would you know that you weren’t listening to your own heartbeat? (this is easy to mistake, even as a Midwife – that’s why we take your pulse at the same time),
- How would you know that it wasn’t the whoosh of the placenta? (also easy to mistake unless trained)

When hearing a heartbeat, there could still be something seriously wrong with the fetus’ health. I read a very good analogy from the Count The Kicks Campaign, where they said that:

“If you saw a person in the street showing symptoms of a stroke or fainting would you delay phoning an ambulance because they still had a heartbeat?”

No. Of course you wouldn’t.

Now I don’t want to fill you with worry and fear so – what should you do instead?

Call your Midwife.

If there is anything about you, your body or your baby that is worrying or just niggling at you then I promise you, she wants to hear it.

Now I can hear you saying ‘but I can never get hold of my Midwife’ ‘she’s so busy I don’t want to bother her with my silly worries’ And yes, she probably is very busy and yes, she probably is quite hard to get hold of but she will want to know. Your Midwife will also be attached to a maternity unit, which will have a phone line for you to call.

I promise you right now, hand on my heart, that there is NO question or worry that is stupid or that we haven’t heard before. You will not be laughed at, yours and your babies’ health are very very important to us.

Now because this is a rather doom and gloom post I thought I’d end it with this gorgeous creature: