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Stupid Fetal Heart monitor :(

(24 Posts)
Southwestwhippet Sun 05-Jul-09 08:38:03

I knew I shouldn't have let my friend lend me hers. She made me swear on my life not to get paranoid if I couldn't hear anything but turns out it is more stressful than I imagined. First of all I managed to find something that said it was a heart beat but it was really slow (like about 85 bpm) when I was told the baby was supposed to be about 130ish... Now I can't find a heart beat at all. sad

I'm 11.5 weeks so i know logically that it is early to be trying to find a heart beat with one of those machines but I can't get the horrible thought out of my head that I some how hurt the baby by jabbing it with the fetal heart monitor looking for a heart beat. It doesn't help that I (being stuborn and akward abut the NHS 'routine screening' programme which I loathe) refused a dating scan.

Please tell me I'm just being crazy paranoid. If I had hurt the baby, I'd know by now right? (It was Friday night I started playing with it).

Thanks from a very nuerotic first timer :D

belgo Sun 05-Jul-09 08:42:53

This is why I hate these monitors.

You know my doctor didn't look for my baby's heart beat until 15 weeks and even then it was hard to find?

11 weeks is way to early. 85 beats per minute would have been your own heart rate. You won't have harmed the baby by jabbing the probe, the baby is well protected.

If I were you I would just give the monitor back to your friend and try and relax, easier said then done I know.

spongebrainmaternitypants Sun 05-Jul-09 08:44:48

southwest, please give the doppler back to your friend as soon as you can sad. They are evil things.

I have resisted getting one, despite a traumatic obs history, for precisely the reasons you have spelt out.

The 85 bpm you heard is your HB btw, and I'm sure you couldn't have hurt your baby.

My MW didn't listen for the HB in my first pg til 18 weeks.

Why don't you try and get your dating scan now - much more reassuring.

Tc x

spongebrainmaternitypants Sun 05-Jul-09 08:45:37

x-posted with belgo!

but basically we're both saying the same thing smile - get rid of the bloody doppler!

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Sun 05-Jul-09 08:47:52

Please give the monitor back to your friend.

It is very unlikely you will hear the baby's heartbeat at this gestation and the sound you heard was probably your own hb.

This machines can cause more anxiety than reassurance for some people.

iMum Sun 05-Jul-09 08:50:42

Ok, I have a doppler and used it for all 3 of my boys-I did get a trace at 11 weeks with my 3rd baby but only as I was more practcied! at 11 weeks the baby is still very low and possibly still hidden behind your pelvic bone?
I had to push the probe very hard and at a distinct angle to get a heart beat, holding it just off centre and angle in the down towards my bum-it took about 10/15 mins to find it.

Dont get worried if you cant find it, and if the doppler is too stressful give it back-but I found it to be a great reassuring aid that got me through 3 lots of 9 months of hell.

sarahrhianna Sun 05-Jul-09 08:53:11

they say in the instructions for these that they are not to be used until 20 ish weeks so no wonder you didn't find anything. I didn't use one in my first pregnancy for the exact reason but when a friend loaned me hers during my second one i couldn't resist having a go. I NEVER managed to find babys heart beat even up until term but as I could feel him moving wasn't concerned.
I doubt that you could have caused any harm, they press pretty hard at the scans and it would have been uncomfortable for you well before you could apply enough pressure to hurt your baby which is very well protected at this stage.

I find it strange that you refused a dating scan but yet are happy to use this kind of instrument at home. Perhaps to put your mind at rest you could ask for a dating scan then you can actually see your baby and hear the heart rate.

crokky Sun 05-Jul-09 09:12:24

Southwestwhippet - give the doppler back. The 85 was probably your own heartbeat. The baby's heartbeat can be hard for a midwife to find even at 16-20 weeks +

You haven't hurt the baby, baby is tiny and very well protected behind your pelvic bones.

Reginamygina Sun 05-Jul-09 09:47:10

My consultant wanted to hear the baby's heartbeat last Thursday (am 12 weeks), but said she would use a portable scanning machine, as it was extremely difficult to find it with a Doppler. She added she didn't want to freak me out if she couldn't find it.

Step away from the Doppler. smile

LionstarBigPants Sun 05-Jul-09 10:10:54

I only have one of those passive monitors - not a Doppler, and at 28 weeks still can't get the baby's heartbeat. However the footballer kicks tell me everything is going fine! With my first pregnancy I picked up the heartbeat a lot earlier - around 19 weeks. I think the difference this time is that the placenta is all across the front, plus this baby doesn't stop moving for 2 seconds!

I do think thses monitoring devices are a bit of a mixed blessing. I have heard (only anecdotally) that too much use of a doppler can be a bit distressing for a baby. I'm sure you can't have pressed hard enough to hurt your baby though, they are very well cushioned, especially at that age. You should see how hard my DD presses my bump when she climbs all over me!

Southwestwhippet Sun 05-Jul-09 16:37:10

Thank you everyone. The machine instruction said "Most people can hear the heartbeat from about 12 weeks, some from as early as 9".

Sounds as if this is not true. It must have been my heartbeat I heard.

Stupid machine, I am going to give it back tomorrow - I am normally a very laid back person so it really did take me by surprise just how freaked out the machine made me feel. I feel very relieved now. THANKS EVERYONE

Claire2009 Sun 05-Jul-09 16:40:21

My doctor wouldn't use a fetal heart monitor until I was 22wks because it is so difficult to find before that.
I had my Dc's in France & had 12/22/32wk scans, and was seeing the doctor every month for bloods/everything else.

belgo Sun 05-Jul-09 16:49:57

Southwestwhippet - I don't know what controls there are in selling these machines, butI really don't think that claim that most people can hear a heart beat by 12 weeks is true.

whomovedmychocolate Sun 05-Jul-09 16:56:05

You can hear a heartbeat - it's your own that's all! I found my doppler really helpful once I was beyond 16 weeks but then the big kicks were probably as much of an indication as anything else.

suwoo Sun 05-Jul-09 17:11:06

I managed to find a heartbeat at 11 weeks, but it was my third so I knew where to look. It also took me 30 minutes of continually searching to find it.

Step away from the doppler and go for your scan. smile

difficultdecision Sun 05-Jul-09 17:24:57

I can get the heart beat at nearly 11 weeks but ONLY because I'm a doctor and I know what I'm looking for. I wouldn't dream of trying on a patient that early as it is so hit and miss it would only increase the worry. (I only looked this early out of professional curiosity to see if I could and I won't be trying again in case I can't next time)

You definately won't have done any harm to the baby but get rid of it or lock it in a draw until 20 weeks (when you probably won't need it because the kicks will tell you all you need to know).

Congratulations on your pregnancy and good luck with the scan.

Longtalljosie Sun 05-Jul-09 17:43:55

The machine instructions can be safely disregarded - yes I'm sure you can hear something from 12 weeks - but only if you find it!

I frequently had a student midwife have a go with the doppler at midwife appointments. It often took them a while, even up to 16ish weeks. And they couldn't always do it.

Run me past your reasons for refusing a dating scan?

Lulumama Sun 05-Jul-09 17:46:12

why would you refuse a dating scan and then poke and prod your self with a doppler and scare yourself silly??

should not really be attempted until 16 weeks + and even then it can be tricky for a MW or GP to find the heart beat

i don't like home dopplers

think they cna be more trouble than help

Southwestwhippet Mon 06-Jul-09 09:30:30

Reasons for refusing a dating scan...
Scans are not done routinely in other countries.

There is some (very tenuous) evidence that scans are linked to babies being born with dyslexia or cross-lateral. As my DP is left handed and I am dyslexic and cross lateral, I decided only to go for one scan. The research done on this did not provide enough data (ie. enough sample mothers) for the results to be considered statistically valid and no further funding has been put up to investigate further. But the small sample pool that was used in this piece of research came back with the link between scanning and left handed babies/dyslexic babies/cross lateral babies.

Personally I do not 100% trust a lot of the NHS 'systems', guidelines and advice as I feel they are put in place to faciliate the system rather than the individual. Whilst I would not judge or try to stop other to using the system, I do not always chose to participate myself. The routine VitK injection and the 'recomended' assisted third stage are further examples of this for me.

My mother is very much against all scanning and I confess this influenced me a little bit.

Nekabu Mon 06-Jul-09 09:57:06

The routine VitK is because it doesn't harm the baby to have extra if it does already have enough but if the baby is lacking then it can be fatal - so a lot easier to give all babies a VitK jab than to risk finding out which babies are lacking by them having very serious problems. The recommended third stage is due to a reasonable proportion of women hemorrhaging at that stage. It doesn't do any harm to have the recommended third stage and can stop hemorrhaging. You can opt out of both the VitK and the assisted third stage should you wish, neither are forced upon you. I'm choosing to opt out of the assisted third stage unless it looks like there's a problem but will go for the VitK.

I think that people sometimes forget just how dangerous childbirth used to be before we had our modern medicine and care. As was once said "Women were created to bear children and to die from it." - mortality both for mother and child were very high and now it isn't. I for one am very grateful!

suwoo Mon 06-Jul-09 11:17:03

I opted out of the assisted third stage after reading some but not enough literature. I had a fairly severe PPH which rendered me unconcious and resulted in an emergency evacuation of products under general anaesthetic.

makipuppy Mon 06-Jul-09 11:45:53

You're using your doppler too early. I'm a total doppler addict but even I didn't use it till 16 weeks. I have a simple one that doesn't record the beat rate - you just listen.

For your peace of mind, if you can hear the whoosh of the placenta, this is driven by the baby, so the little tinker is in there and OK even if you can't hear the galloping hooves.

Longtalljosie Mon 06-Jul-09 12:03:21

If ultrasounds resulted in dyslexia and cross-lateralism, both would be a lot more common than they are, I would argue. Yes, I know dyslexia is very common (it's in my family) but it's been very common since before ultrasounds were.

That said, I would entirely back your decision not to have a 12 week scan - if it wasn't for the fact that you're making yourself miserable with a doppler!

Thandeka Tue 21-Jul-09 17:14:08

hang on dopplers use similar wave stuff (scientist brain not working emoticon) to scans - and sonographer poster on here said dopplers are actually stronger than normal scans- so refusing the scans but then using the doppler is probably negating any effect you are trying to achieve.

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