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fetal heart monitors - anyone bought/hired one?

(6 Posts)
StripyMouse Wed 14-May-03 23:37:48

At 14 weeks pregnant I am very tempted to get hold of a heart monitor as the gaps between seeing my mw feel so long. After a bit of research it seems that for about £40 you can get hold of a basic home system (eg. that uses the bells stephoscope method and if you are prepared to fork out a bit more you can get hold of a doppler monitor that looks more effective and easier to use.
I know that Mears has advised against buying or hiring this sort of equipment because it can cause a lot of anxiety if you fail to locate a heart beat. However, I was wondering whether anyone out there who is not a trained mw or doctor has hired/bought one and if so how did they get on? Looking at some of the feedback from ebay customers suggest that a lot of women are really happy they bought them and got great results fairly easily with the doppler monitors... any info/stories would be really welcome. Thanks in advance.

StripyMouse Thu 15-May-03 07:43:14

sorry for dragging this back up on the active conversations list - just really hoping for a bit of feedback and advice...

eidsvold Thu 15-May-03 07:57:27

This would not have been useful for my dd - even though she was diagnosed with a heart defect at 20 weeks in utero. The fetal cardiologist did not even suggest having a fetal cardiac monitor......

she hated any sort of monitoring and would not co operate - in scans they had to chase her around the womb literally to try and see lots of things - when she was too big to get moving so far she would just keep wriggling... hated it when I did have to go for heart monitoring later in the pregnancy ( for reasons other than heart defect)took a long time to get a good 'print out'It would also take the midwife a while to locate the heart beat.

I ended up having an emergency caesarean ( for a couple of reasons) but the deciding factor was that the heart monitor stopped picking up her heart beat - they thought she was in distress and decided to take me to theatre straight away... in reality she had just moved .....

If you are really concerned - speak to your midwife about future appointments.. if you are very concerned they might see you more regularly.

But for me - I would not have one... too much anxiety - especially knowing she had a heart condition - would have driven my crazy.

StripyMouse Thu 15-May-03 08:02:41

thanks for that eidsvold, you could be right. Luckily for me my baby seems fairly cooperative and dd1 was brilliant - not once did any of the huge team of midwives have any difficulty detecting a heart beat - dont know if they were really good at the job, it was luck or down to my anatomical build with uterus sticking out! Even thought it is no. 2, I do feel more anxious about this one (no logical reasons really) and just have this feeling that if I could get a decent machine it might make me feel better and help dh and dd feel more involved and aware of the baby... hmmm still so undecided.

StripyMouse Tue 27-May-03 08:38:36

Well, just wanted to update this thread a little - since posting and hearing how happy 1stimer was with her babybeat monitor (nov-Dec babies thread) I decided to go for it and buy a PD1 doppler monitor - a little pricey but we thought it worth a risk and could sell it on afterwards if we wished. We have now had it for a week and it is so brilliant. Anyone wondering about getting one - do it if you can!! We have used it several times a day and have never failed to find the heart beat. Sometimes we have to keep hunting for 5 mins or so but it is so interesting that we don’t mind. The midwife pointed out how to spot my heart beat, the babies heart beat and kicking noise, the swooshing noise from the placenta and umbillical chord - amazing stuff. Now we know that it can be a bit tricky, if we did struggle to find a beat it wouldn’t bother me as we would just leave it a while until the wriggly thing has moved into a clearer position. It is also brilliant for my dh - who has become the self appointed monitor controller. It has really helped him bond with the baby in a way that he didn’t do with my last bump until I was in the last few months and he could really see her moving inside me. My dd1 also loves helping to rub the gel into my tummy and listens so carefully. Her face lights up when she hears the heart beat and she shouts out "baby!" really loudly, what an angel.

If you are prone to be a bit pannicky and would get really upset if you didn’t find a beat within minutes, then perhaps it wouldn’t be a wise move, but for calmer straightforward pregnancies where you just like the idea of hearing your baby more often than once a month with your mw - then I strongly recommend you get one. You can hire them off the net for about £30 a month but works out better to buy as you can then sell on via ebay, friends, local paper etc. A babybeat is much cheaper and also sounds a good idea judging from 1stimer’s comments.
All I can say is that it was money that we could have easily spent elsewhere but was definitely worth every penny.

wiltshire Sat 13-Sep-03 20:57:00

I know this is an old thread, just wanted to update. I am 38 weeks now but from weeks 13 to about 26 I hired a doppler from Best thing I ever done. Was 30.00 per month. I heard heartbeat every morning and it totally reassured me. I didn't use it every 2 minutes though as you could drive yourself potty. I actually sent it back at 26 weeks as baby moved & wiggled so much that I didn't need it anymore.

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