Home dopplers and apps that claim to listen to the baby’s heartbeat are becoming more and more common. But many mums remain unaware of the dangers of using them for reassurance.
It is all to common for a mum to be, worried about her baby’s movements or welbeing to pick up an app or doppler and have a listen. On hearing the heartbeat, convinced all is OK, they carry on as normal. This could however lead to problems.
It is important to remember the devices you see being used at antenatal appointments and check ups are being used by trained professionals. Professionals who can tell the difference between fetal and placental blood flow. Even if a mum to be is accurately picking up the baby’s heartbeat that does not mean all is well.
If you have noticed a change in your baby’s regular pattern of movement they may be in distress. In order to prevent a stillbirth, babies at risk need be identified while they are still alive, ie have a heartbeat. Now would be the time to present to your midwife, when something can be done to save your baby if it transpires they are in distress. Waiting until you can no longer hear a heartbeat before calling the midwife is leaving it too late.
If you saw a person in the street showing symptoms of a stroke or heart attack would you delay phoning an ambulance because they still had a heartbeat?
It is vital that medical intervention is sought when the baby still has a heartbeat in all incidences of reduced fetal movement. So if you have any concerns about your baby’s movements contact your midwife, do not rely on a home doppler.
Pregnant women see these devices being used in clinics at every appointment as a marker of fetal wellbeing. I do not feel that any amount of emphasis on the part of the manufacturers that they are not meant as a substitute for normal antenatal care will suffice. It is vital that medical intervention is sought when the baby still has a heartbeat in all incidences of reduced fetal movement. So if you have any concerns about your baby’s movements contact your midwife, do not rely on a home doppler.
For more information on baby’s movements and when to call the midwife visit www.countthekicks.org.uk