the midwife will be able to listen for the heartbeat from about 16 weeks or so and is trained to do so .. listening for your own baby's heartbeat can make you more worried when you can't find it because the baby's either too young or in a weird position
only thing i would say about dopplers is if u r going to use it from early on then i wouldnt get the rented as they dont have heart rate display...which means paying out for u one. u can get bn on ebay for £70 from doppler mike and i would recommend him as i got mine about 2 wks ago and am 16wks now and it works brilliantly. The only reason i recommend display is cos u get ur own hb in ur groin aswell and it can be hard sometimes to be 100% sure. U can then also sell on ur doppler for around 50-60 punds so actually end up paying less than u would if u rented it for a month as rental is £24.99 plus £7 delivery but then u have to pay £24.99 every month u have it.
Against loads of advice (mainly from this website) we bought one for about £70 from ebay (brand new, from a medical supplies dealer) for reasons like nemo1977 (ie. cheaper than hiring and wanted a good one or not at all).
Worth every penny. Delighted to use it, rarely didnt find the hb and on these occasions tried again after a few mins and found it easily. Found it conforting and reassuring between the mw appts. I have given to several women on loan whilst pregnant and all found it helpful and easy. Would recommend all to try one for themselves as long as you arent the type to go into overdrive if you dont find a beat straight away.
Dont understand why mws like to go on and on about being specially trained in finding it. I know they are specially trained in many areas and not knocking them in the slightest (loads of respect and gratitude) and know they are trained in interpreting them but as for finding the hb - we found it really simple to do. I let DH be "in charge" of finding it which helped him feel more in touch with the baby as he couldnt make many mw appts. Also helped DD1 to understand that there was a little baby in there, not just food...
what makes me laugh about mw being trained is that i went to see my mw yesterday and she couldnt find heartbeat when i had found it easily in morning and later on..lol The other thing is its great for peace of mind as i have had 3mcs in past so being able to check in is fab
agree nemo - on the first (and only) occasion DH came to a mw appt. with me for DD2 at the medical centre, she spent so long failing to find a hb, fussing, trying again after taking my bp, then leaving me for a few mins for the baby to "turn", while she was out of the room, DH said that he had to get back to a meeting and couldnt hang around any longer (already running really late) and couldnt resist having a go himself. She walked in while we were there entranced listening in. She was clearly peeved (understandably I guess) but she trying in the wrong area and refured to listen to DH when he tried to explain eariler that he usually got a better result further down to the side...
dopplermike is who i used it was aexpensive at £80 including pnp but same one on other sites is 140 then £8 pnp. HE is extrmely quick at delivering..think i got mine next day and is well worth the money. I actually saw same one on ebay the other day that was willing to ship to usa so it sold for £120 used so the woman obviosuly made a profit.