Doppler versus traditional ultrasound - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 02-06-2011, 02:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Can't sleep so I'm up wandering the net.

 

A friend is continuously sending me links to various pregnancy related topics.  One I read today was about ultrasound safety.  What surprised me was the controversy over Doppler use.  Some say it's worse than the imaging U/S which I thought was the complete opposite.  My midwife said the Doppler does expose the baby to ultrasound, but it's a lower intensity and a much shorter duration than an U/S.  I read some things that said the opposite because "they" say the Doppler is a continuous streaming versus pulsed and it's more focused.

 

I was opting out of traditional U/S since there's no reason to suspect something is up.  My midwife only recommends them if there is a reason.  I'm cool with that.  She uses the Doppler for a bit and then switches to the fetascope.  I heard the baby's heart beat at 11 wks.  I would say the whole thing was less than 5 minutes tops. 

 

I can't go back in time and undo it...and boy did I love hearing that heartbeat, but now I need more information to decide whether to hear it on Friday.  On one hand, I've been worried (for no real reason) that something is up so hearing it would be reassuring.  On the other hand, if it's going to expose the baby to things I shouldn't, I want to skip it. 

 

Anyone have any reliable information to share?

 

Thanks.

 

Bree


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#2 of 16 Old 02-06-2011, 04:16 AM
 
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I don't have any facts for you, but I wanted to give hugs your way.  Maybe it would help to think about the millions upon millions of babies that come safely into the world after having doppler/sonogram/even elected sonograms done?  Maybe that doesn't help, but there are sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many things we could worry about with babies we could give ourselves early heart attacks.  Whatever you do, don't let it totally stress you out, because I would imagine that is 10x worse on baby than any doppler could be.

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#3 of 16 Old 02-06-2011, 04:33 AM
 
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I think this is one of those things where it's seriously up to the mom.  Some moms are perfectly fine and never have a worry, and using a doppler isn't something they would choose to do so they skip it. It's an easy choice.  Other moms worry, and need/want the reassurance of a heartbeat or an u/s, so they get them.  

There is evidence against everything, and sometimes the risks outweigh the benefits.  But if you worry so much over your baby, and something as simple as hearing the hb for a few seconds will ease your fears, then it's worth the risk.  The opposite is also true.  There's no reason to do something to yourself or baby if you're not worried at all.

That was probably as clear as mud, but these are my thoughts on the issue!  IMO worry is worse!


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#4 of 16 Old 02-06-2011, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I wasn't up wandering the net because I was stressed.  Just couldn't sleep so I starting reading the articles.  Just wanted to make sure it didn't sound like I was having another freak out. :)

 

I'm not worried about the Doppler I already had.  Tons of babies are healthy and smart that have had Dopplers over and over along with biweekly or monthy U/S.I had one short Doppler at 11 wks.  I'm just trying to get more information about whether to do another one.

 

I'm thinking I'll skip it.  As beautiful as that sound was and how reassuring it was to know something was actually in there, I think I'll just let my body do its thing and hopefully I'll feel the baby move in the next month anyway.

 

Bree


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#5 of 16 Old 02-06-2011, 07:54 AM
 
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I do not do routine u/s, I got one in the first tri this time because I had no idea about my dates and I won't get another. Doppler I take it case by case. I am not a fan of it for myself but I tend to be minimalist about things while pg anyway. I have listened to previous babies with a doppler early on, with DD2 it was once, DS never, I doubt I will this time but I just don't have that desire or need right now. If I needed that reassurance then I would. I'll second that there are risks and benefits to everything and you just to figure out what you want to do. 


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#6 of 16 Old 02-06-2011, 08:13 AM
 
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My midwife is really quick with the doppler (well, this time I made her do it three times, so everyone can hear but I'd still say it was less than a full minute all together)... I'd say it's 30 seconds tops 8? times during a pregnancy (minus during birth) - I'm okay with that. An hour+ long ultrasound concerns me more. If my midwife was someone who kept the doppler on for a long time or took forever to find a heartbeat, then I may be more concerned.

 

Granted that wasn't exactly reliable information and totally anecdotal ;)


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#7 of 16 Old 02-06-2011, 10:29 AM
 
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This article says that there are two kinds of doppler and that the regular hand-held kind midwives use is perfectly safe, while the other is not over the long term. Don't know how reliable the source is but it would make sense because somewhere somebody got the idea that dopplers are not safe. It would make sense that they would be talking about the second kind and then not differentiating.

 

Otherwise, I have also read a lot of internet articles on both sides. It seems hard to find reliable info from either side. I'm not convinced dopplers in moderation are dangerous, just like ultrasounds. On the other hand, overuse of ultrasound has been shown to be related to IUGR so I wouldn't do a ton of dopplers either. Of course, the length of doppler exposure is much shorter. I chose not to get a 12 week ultra but rather heard the heartbeat with the doppler. Part of it was not feeling 100% ok with the safety of ultrasounds, but the other one was that the doppler just felt much less invasive to me. I signed up for the 20 week but am partially undecided yet. I know it would make DH feel better even though I've told him that there's no reason to do a routine ultra.

 

I agree with pps that stress is probably worse than any doppler or ultra (not saying you're stressing OP) so if that will help you relax it's probably a good thing.


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#8 of 16 Old 02-06-2011, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the link.  I'm really not stressed.  I kinda feel like it is what it is.  There isn't anything I can do if something is "off" and I have no reason to think anything is off.  I mean sometimes I fixate on a symptom or lack there of, but it quickly fades.  I LOVED hearing that little baby's heart.  It was sooo awesome.  I would listen to it everyday if I could.  It's just that now I wonder if there is some reason for pause.  I'm now 14 wks and 2 days.  I am desperately hoping I feel the baby move really early...like 16-17 wks.  I'm a first time mom, so I know it can be later, but a poll I did on here showed many first timers felt it around then.  Once I feel that, I'll have no real need to hear the heartbeat.  I mean I love the sound, but I know the heart is beating if the baby is wriggling. :)

 

Thanks for the feedback everyone. 

 

Bree


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#9 of 16 Old 02-06-2011, 11:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoonToBe View Post

Thanks for the link.  I'm really not stressed.  I kinda feel like it is what it is.  There isn't anything I can do if something is "off" and I have no reason to think anything is off.  I mean sometimes I fixate on a symptom or lack there of, but it quickly fades.  I LOVED hearing that little baby's heart.  It was sooo awesome.  I would listen to it everyday if I could.  It's just that now I wonder if there is some reason for pause.  I'm now 14 wks and 2 days.  I am desperately hoping I feel the baby move really early...like 16-17 wks.  I'm a first time mom, so I know it can be later, but a poll I did on here showed many first timers felt it around then.  Once I feel that, I'll have no real need to hear the heartbeat.  I mean I love the sound, but I know the heart is beating if the baby is wriggling. :)


I feel exactly the same way! I think I might have been feeling flutters for a week or so now but am just not sure. I will be pretty excited when I feel something that's obviously baby!


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#10 of 16 Old 02-06-2011, 11:16 AM
 
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We did not have any U/S or use the Doppler with DD, until labor(my MW used one to monitor DD during and in-between contractions)

I figure that it is not worth the risk--even a small risk. However, I feel my babies really early DD was around 12-13 weeks and this one I started feeling around 10 weeks, which makes me willing to wait until we can hear the babe's heartbeat with the fetescope.

I think you just need to decide what makes you feel most comfortable or most uncomfotable.

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#11 of 16 Old 02-07-2011, 07:21 AM
 
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I had the doppler with DS. Mostly I had the first one at 12 weeks because of the recent previous m/c and I was a nervous nellie until we got that first heart beat confirmation. DS did NOT like the doppler. Every time the midwife used it he would wriggle away from it and would move more for the next few hours. I didn't have any u/s as there didn't seem to be any need for one.

 

This time I'll probably have the doppler at 12 weeks (next week) and then again at 16 weeks. Once the midwife can hear the heart beat with the fetoscope at 20 weeks I'll have her just do that. This time I will probably have one u/s just to make sure nothing is attached to my c/s scar.

 

I do agree with everyone else that whatever keeps mom relaxed and stress free is the best choice for that mom. I'm a low intervention, if it ain't broke don't fix it kind of mom, but I have friends who would worry about every possible complication until they knew they didn't have it, so for them tests were good. Technology can be very helpful, but so is your own mom instinct. Do what feels right to you and it will be the right decision.


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#12 of 16 Old 02-07-2011, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I e-mailed my midwife to ask her thoughts about it more specifically.  This is what she wrote back:

 

"Well, the doppler that I use to listen to your baby is 2 mhz. The U/s machine that pulses has a bigger area on the transducer-the thing on your belly wall that gets the picture, starts and 20,000 mhz and goes up from there.  The more detail in the U/S picture, the higher the mhz and the more heating of the fluid, the high pitched sound that does hurt the baby's ears, the cavitation--little heat-induced bubbles of toxic air left in the baby's tissue --to name a few side effects of U/S.  The doppler head has a 'bean' of mhz the size of a pencil--the whole head is not shooting out waves.  I can use a fetoscope, but 22 weeks is the earliest I could hear and it's tricky for you to hear it--untrained ear,etc.  Once you are 30-33 weeks along, then you can usually hear the heart beat easily."

 

Interesting. :)

 

Bree

 


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#13 of 16 Old 02-07-2011, 03:14 PM
 
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Bree-

I'm sure it varies between mom's and babes, but we started hearing DD with the fetascope when I was 19 weeks. Neither DP nor I had any trouble hearing the heartbeat the first time or any subsequent time.

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#14 of 16 Old 02-07-2011, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earth-mama View Post

Bree-

I'm sure it varies between mom's and babes, but we started hearing DD with the fetascope when I was 19 weeks. Neither DP nor I had any trouble hearing the heartbeat the first time or any subsequent time.


Cool!  What brand did you use?  I want to get one...just because it's fun.  The baby will be moving around by about then so I don't need it for reassurance, but it's so cool!

 

Bree


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#15 of 16 Old 02-07-2011, 04:52 PM
 
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I'm not sure of the brand, but I can check at my next appointment.

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#16 of 16 Old 02-07-2011, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!

 

Bree


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