I was recently speaking to a nurse who works in an acute care ward of a women’s hospital, who regularly works with antenatal and postnatal women for whom things haven’t gone to plan. She was complaining about the risks mums-to-be are taking using dopplers and heart beat monitor apps at home.
“There are so many things we test for other than a heartbeat. If you saw someone faint, you wouldn’t just check for a pulse and keep on walking. The existence of a heartbeat doesn’t mean your baby is not in distress… once there’s no heartbeat, it’s already too late.”
So what harm can it do?
Keeping a track of your baby’s movements are the better determinate of whether they are happy and healthy. A change in heart beat is a significant symptom of distress, and if your baby is unwell, the sooner the intervention the better.
So basically if you’re using that Doppler to reassure yourself because you’ve noticed a change in movements, it could deter you from seeking proper medical help when you should.
What can I do instead?
There are some great apps which assist in tracking fetal movement, and may give some of that assurance if baby usually has a quiet time or busier time, and also help you be mindful of those little kicks throughout the day.
Trust your intuition. Many mums say they ‘just knew’ something wasn’t right, and your care provider should be happy to check out the baby’s vitals. It might be a bit inconvenient to pop in to the doctor or the hospital, but it is better than giving yourself a false sense of safety.
Whilst its reassuring to feel that heartbeat and remind yourself, yes, there’s a little person in there, do yourself and your baby a favour and always contact your medical care provider if you have any concerns about your baby.
Disclaimer: Bliss Birth and our affiliates do not claim to have medical expertise. Any advice offered is opinion only, always seek the advice of your Doctor, Midwife or caregiver.