My feed

to access all these features

Get updates on how your baby develops, your body changes, and what you can expect during each week of your pregnancy by signing up to the Mumsnet Pregnancy Newsletters.


A word against at home fetal dopplers

12 replies

Fiona1987 · 06/05/2020 15:11

I went into triage today because of reduced movement. I'm currently 28 weeks pregnant. The midwife didn't use a simple fetal doppler on me, she did a proper test on me by putting some belts on my belly and hooking me up to a heartbeat monitor machine and every time I felt movement I had to press a little beeper. Everything turned out fine, the heartbeat was fine and the baby moved tons during the test ( typical). Anyway, despite using that machine that probably cost thousands of pounds it took her 1-2 minutes to find the heartbeat. She pressed my belly quite hard and she said she can't tell by touching my belly where my baby is hiding. Thank God we both felt the baby moving after 30 seconds so it wasn't 2 minutes of being terrified. After hearing the heartbeat and being 1 minute into the test, we lost the heartbeat again as baby moved to complete opposite end of belly. I then had to lie on my side and we found it again and had to restart the test.
But I just realized if she as a trained professional can't find the heartbeat straight away with such an expensive machine at 28 weeks, there would have been no chance to find it with a 50 pounds at home fetal doppler. I have the sonoline B doppler at home, which I now hardly ever use and I don't think I will ever use it again.
At home fetal dopplers are cheap, they can give you wrong reassurance if something is wrong and a massive panic even if everything is alright. Also, most people aren't professionally trained in interpreting them.
I think everyone should think twice before buying one.

OP posts:
ShirleyPhallus · 06/05/2020 15:15

I think everyone should think twice before buying one.

People shouldn’t even think twice, they should have one thought: “do not buy one”.

They rarely are used correctly and provide false reassurance. Please just visit the midwife if you have reduced movements. Do not get one of these.

sel2223 · 06/05/2020 16:08

I totally agree OP.
How people think reading a manual or watching a youtube video qualifies them to do something that even medical professionals who are trained and experienced can struggle with, is beyond me.

TimeWastingButFun · 06/05/2020 16:36

I'm glad everything was OK. I have to say though for me I had one and it was brilliant. I did know though that it wouldn't always pick up the heartbeat and when it didn't I would try again later and always managed to get it eventually. As long as people are fully aware of it not always working. Absolutely keep an eye on the movements though!

Pineapplebaby · 06/05/2020 16:47

Totally agree. I’ve heard of so many people thinking they’re listening to the baby’s heartbeat and actually it’s the blood pumping via the placenta instead, giving totally inaccurate reassurance.

BeautyAndTheBump1 · 06/05/2020 17:02

Definitely agree, thankyou for sharing your story!
When the midwife used a doppler on me once I heard a beating and she said straight away 'so that's the placenta.' Then moved to the opposite side 'and that's the baby' I literally couldnt tell the difference between the two.

sel2223 · 06/05/2020 18:44

@BeautyAndTheBump1 I had that too! Lay there for a while thinking I was listening to baby's hb and was then told it was the placenta!
She then started listening to the actual hb and it sounded exactly the same to my untrained ear!

Wotsits4357542 · 06/05/2020 18:44

I posted about one the other week I had tried in only 15 weeks and stupidly thought I’d hear it. The videos on YouTube of women finding it in 2 seconds when they are 8 weeks really worried me when u couldn’t find mine. I’ve stopped using it and accepted that I shouldn’t have touched one in the first place. Have a scan next week so will know if all is well, from my experience I’d def say stead clear. Glad everything is ok wi TV you and your baby op x

Aroundtheworldin80moves · 06/05/2020 18:51

With my second daughter, the midwife struggled to find the HB in appointments, despite being able to feel the baby kicking (and hear the baby moving on the Doppler). Placenta was at the front, so I felt the baby late also.

Sheera1 · 06/05/2020 21:33

I don't understand why people say they mistake the placenta sounds or your own heartbeat. A babies heartbeat is much much faster. I can understand not finding it and that causing panic and surely no-one would be so silly as not to call if something seemed not right. Each to their own. I personally would find it fascinating but would never not discuss any signs or issues with my midwife.

MrsRose2018 · 06/05/2020 21:43

Here here OP, in 28 weeks, sizeable baby and bump and went for my community midwife app the other week and she said “right, let’s have a listen shall we” and got our the Doppler!

Easily 2+ minutes went by before she found his heartbeat (He was kicking away happily so I wasn’t worried) and As soon as she found it he was off again and she had to keep moving and moving! Also like another poster said - she kept going “nope that’s the placenta flow” “nope that’s yours”.

I don’t care what others say, baby heart beats do not sound noticeably different! My baby had a BPM of 120 the other day (I have CTG monitoring 2 x a week) and my BP when they measured it was EXACTLY the same!


Babyboomtastic · 06/05/2020 21:54

The placenta sounds totally different, and it would be an unusual coincidence (and quite worrying, especially in early pregnancy) if mum and baby had the same heartbeat.

MrsRose2018 · 06/05/2020 22:56

@Babyboomtastic I appreciate you/some other women can tell the difference but does the fact that so many other women are telling stories of difficulties telling the difference/difficulties their MWs have had in finding the heartbeat not indicate their unreliability though?

Also at my scan on Monday the sonogrpaher showed me the placenta flow both in terms of the wave chart at the bottom of the screen but also let me listen to it for a second and honestly to my untrained ear (which arguably all home Doppler users would be) sounded EXACTLY the same as the heartbeat I had spent half an hour just listening to strapped to on the CTG monitor!

Also, I'm not lying, when I was being monitored this week both our BPMs were 120 and the midwife didn't even comment further so it couldn't have been that unusual coincidence... it depends on where you read but a fetal heartbeat ranges from 110-170 depending on gestation

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.