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Irregular heartbeat on home Doppler

(30 Posts)
FredFlintstonesSister Thu 03-Nov-16 13:06:54

I got a Doppler during my first pregnancy because I had an anterior placenta which meant it was about week 27 before I felt any movement. The home Doppler eased my anxiety until I could feel the baby move for myself. This pregnancy I haven't really used it. Over the weekend, however, I felt less movement than usual so I used the Doppler in the hope it would make me feel better. Instead, I heard a very definite and consistent irregularity in the heartbeat. I saw my midwife to get her to check because of reduced movement but didn't mention heartbeat because I thought she'd disaprove of me having a Doppler. I heard the irregular heartbeat on her Doppler too but she didn't mention it and said everything sounded great! Movement is back to normal now but I am so anxious. I'm 20 weeks tomorrow and dreading my scan on Tuesday. Anyone else have irregular heartbeat that turned out to be nothing? Really worried.

Flisspaps Thu 03-Nov-16 13:12:39

This is exactly why home dopplers are a bad idea.

You should contact your MW straight away if you've any worries.

FredFlintstonesSister Thu 03-Nov-16 13:16:50

Like I said, I have contacted my midwife and had her listen to the heartbeat so I'm not sure you're advice is really relavent here. Thanks for your opinion.

FenellaMaxwell Thu 03-Nov-16 13:18:42

Well the midwife is a trained professional whereas you are not, so her interpretation of the Doppler is probably better then yours?

JosephineMaynard Thu 03-Nov-16 13:20:05

DH got a right telling off from the midwife when he mentioned our home Doppler when I was pregnant with DS1.

The general gist of the midwife's criticism was that he's not trained in these things, so there's a danger he might misinterpret the heartbeat - either thinking everything's ok with baby when it's not, or thinking there's something wrong when it's sounding normal. Obviously the first of those would have the worse potential outcome.

Anyway, midwife made it very clear that if I was concerned about baby, I should contact them and get them to listen to baby, rather than using a home Doppler.

FredFlintstonesSister Thu 03-Nov-16 13:21:28

Is it just me or is there a tone to these replies? Honestly, if all you want to do is flame me for having a Doppler don't reply!

SortAllTheThings Thu 03-Nov-16 13:26:10

You're obviously concerned, so I would speak to the midwife today, explain about the doppler. Silly that midwives make you feel like you can't talk to them about something, you need to feel that if you're worried you can go to them.

It's good that a MW has listened to the heartbeat, but you should have raised your concerns. I reckon speak to them again.

FenellaMaxwell Thu 03-Nov-16 13:26:23

People are not trying to flame you, but to point out the midwife would know best. Who you have seen. Who said everything was fine. A bunch of strangers on the internet coupled with your untrained Doppler use is not going to give a more definitive answer than the midwife. Try to stop worrying and if you still have concerns go back to the midwife.

JosephineMaynard Thu 03-Nov-16 13:27:10

Ok then.

If you're still worried about this irregularity, contact the midwife again. Tell her you heard what sounded like "a very definite and consistent irregularity in the heartbeat" using your home Doppler. Put up with any disapproving comments about home Dopplers, and ask her to listen to baby's heartbeat again to specifically check if she can hear any irregularity.

Ask her if it's normal for an unborn baby's heartbeat to seem irregular from time to time.

She's going to need to know what you're worried about if she's going to be able to check it out properly.

Becciilouisex3 Thu 03-Nov-16 13:27:40

If the midwife has checked LO out and everything is fine then I wouldn't worry about it. I used a Doppler before my 12 week scan to see if I could hear a heartbeat because I couldn't wait and I used it a few times after just because I wanted to feel close to LO. Don't see anything wrong with listening to it for sentimental purposes but anytime you're unsure if all is well with LO don't bother with the Doppler at all, just call and go in smile

You might hear a heartbeat and think all is well but it does need to be put on a trace to check for exactly what you're worried about, irregular heartbeats or anything else. Alternatively you might scare yourself if you hear something that sounds a bit odd to you when actually a trace would show all is well!

I'm sure the midwives would have picked up anything that was wrong so don't worry yourself. Just pop up as many times as you need to if you're concerned about movement etc! Good luckflowers

teenyrabbit Thu 03-Nov-16 13:28:21

Everyone is right though, you really shouldn't use a Doppler unless you are a trained medical professional.

You say your midwife heard the heartbeat and didn't say anything? Chances are it's fine then.

Babies don't have a regular heartbeat whilst in the womb, it fluctuates slower and faster and i was told by my midwife whilst being monitored for reduced movement, that that was normal, and there is a normal range of the speed it should be fluctuating between, though I can't remember what that is.

If you're worried about movements (less OR more) then you should contact your midwife of your maternity unit immediately and they will check you out.

Get rid of the Doppler you'll end up scaring yourself half to death, or giving yourself false reassurance. It's not worth it.

Flisspaps Thu 03-Nov-16 13:28:33

I intended no offence.

However, even experienced midwives struggle to use a Doppler correctly sometimes.

They know what they're listening for - if you're worried then you go back every time you're concerned.

Just because any other MNer's baby was or wasn't ok after a home Doppler doesn't mean you can extrapolate anything from their experience.

Even if you go in daily, I'm sure the MWs would rather that than you fret at home.

And put the Doppler in the bin smile

scaevola Thu 03-Nov-16 13:30:46

It's not flaming to point out that these devices are notoriously unreliable.

There is no evidence that there has been anything irregular about the actual heartbeat, because there is so much evidence that home readings are not accurate. You may well not take that as reassurance, as you've clearly got yourself into a spin based on one of these damned devices.

So all I can do us wish you well for your upcoming scan.

eatsleephockeyrepeat Thu 03-Nov-16 13:30:48

This is exactly the kind of thing I'd do, and exactly the kind of thing I'd worry about! It's also exactly the kind of thing I would blame on dp to get me out of a bind...

Call midwife, explain dp bought a doppler (wanted to "bond" with baby so you thought "why not?"), thought he could hear an "irregularity" in the heartbeat, you kind of agreed and said you could hear what he was talking about but that the midwife has listened to it recently and said all was fine... but you can't stop thinking about it and you're worrying and would she mind checking again and you can point out what he was hearing.

Voila! Yes, yes, a lie, but that is hand on heart what I would do.

ImpYCelyn Thu 03-Nov-16 13:31:12

Foetal heartbeats are irregular. I was on a ctg (hospital monitor) for an hour on Tuesday. Heart beat varied from 124bpm to 179bpm. Averaging about 150. There are meant to be accelerations (of over 15 bpm), I had 9 of those, and 11 of 10-15 bpm, it's a sign of a healthy baby, and there are bits when it's lower. No one batted an eyelid at the heart rate changes.
It becomes a problem at very specific thresholds, and when it's sustained for very specific durations.

Unfortunately, without experience at it, it will be very hard for you to work out the average (because that changes throughout the pregnancy), and certainly to identify when the changes are a concern.

Without medical training, a home Doppler means you can check in and hear a heart beat. If you're getting consistently under 100 bpm, check it's not yours (you'll need to take your pulse), if it's the baby, go to hospital as it shouldn't be that low. Otherwise, just enjoy being able to hear them. Irregular is what it is.

FredFlintstonesSister Thu 03-Nov-16 13:32:06

Not going to check this post again as it is really not helpful to hear people repeatedly say "you shouldn't have done that". Was looking for advice from anyone with experience in this area.

FredFlintstonesSister Thu 03-Nov-16 13:33:04

Oh, and a genuine thank you to the people who were kind.

Chaseley Thu 03-Nov-16 13:35:12

Hey OP,
I got a grilling when I noted I use a Doppler on here so I know how you feel.
Ring & tell the midwife you use one & what you heard, see if they can check again.
My midwife is really lovely however, she has admitted she will not check for HB until 25 Weeks because she struggles (worrying sign when she's trained to do it!)
The last thing you need is to be told the reasons you shouldn't use one, you simply need advice on what to do!
Don't worry about telling the midwife you have one, it's your baby & if it reassures you until you can feel more movement, then carry on!
Let me know how it goes xx

grubblyplank Thu 03-Nov-16 13:35:56

I used a doppler after my second pregnancy ended in miscarriage - I was anxious, so thought it would ease that anxiety.

I too heard an irregularity which then scared the life out of me and made me even more anxious. After telling the midwife what I'd heard, she said it was normal and that heart rhythms can fluctuate. I was monitored every week for other reasons and never heard it through those sessions.

If ever in doubt, ask your health professionals.

teenyrabbit Thu 03-Nov-16 13:36:32

Not checking before 25 weeks isn't a worrying sign what so ever, and actually can be policy in some trusts.

eatsleephockeyrepeat Thu 03-Nov-16 13:38:45

ImpYCelyn you're right about the range of heartrates, however these are not the only things that can prove a concern. Other types of irregularities like dropped beats etc. can be a problem. A friend was blue-lighted from a routine midwife's appointment to hospital on the basis of the irregularities heard on the doppler. Baby (now toddler) has a complex heart problem but is absolutely fine.

OP make up any excuse you need when speaking to your midwife but get her to listen again. You'll know doubt have your mind put at rest but it's not worth worrying about it and putting it off cos you don't want to get told off.

ShowMeTheElf Thu 03-Nov-16 13:41:38

OP, I think that people are trying to reassure you, although it perhaps coming over to you as a bity snippy because you are obviously stressed out....as anyone would be if they were worried about their baby.
If the MW heard the same sound that you thought was irregular but thinks it is OK then it probably is OK. After all, a Doppler will pick up foetal heartbeat, umbilicus pulse and the mother's heartbeat in varying degrees based on the position of Doppler and child so a mixed up beat is to a degree normal, which is why the advice is to not worry about it but call a MW/other professional if you are concerned.
Tuesday isn't so far away, and you'll get to see your new baby! Whatever you are worrying about will be clear to see at the scan. Congratulations and I hope all goes well.

teenyrabbit Thu 03-Nov-16 13:42:08

But I'm guessing op wouldn't be able to differentiate what is a normal irregularity and what needs attention? And a midwife that she saw would?

If you're concerned see a midwife op, or go to your maternity unit. Keep track of your movements.

eatsleephockeyrepeat Thu 03-Nov-16 13:47:14

But I'm guessing op wouldn't be able to differentiate what is a normal... And a midwife that she saw would?

Oh absolutely teeny. None of us like to take any chances when it comes to their babies though, so if OP thinks in retrospect the midwife might have missed something, for whatever reason, I think it's okay to ask her to double check. Although you are of course more than likely spot on and everything is completely normal smile

teenyrabbit Thu 03-Nov-16 13:55:30

Oh yeah she should definitely see a midwife if she is concerned about anything!

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