One of my best friends bought me a doppler off Ebay for $50 and I swear I'm picking up the baby's heartbeat already, or at least I think I am? It's in the 150-160's every time I check it, however, it doesn't sound like a galloping sound. More like whooshing. So I'm not sure if that is the heartbeat or if I'm just hearing the placenta? Here's the video I took, sorry there was some tv show on in the background.
So, my question...is anyone getting a doppler to use at home?
I am not planning to get a doppler for home use. In my first pregnancy, I noticed how much DS seemed to dislike dopplers and ultrasounds. He always moved as far away as he could get from the source, which makes sense to me, as I would not be thrilled about some enormous booming sound surprising me in my living space, either.
Also, I suspect that if I had a doppler, I would be tempted to use it waaaaaay too often. A big part of being a mother for me is facing up to the fundamental uncertainty of life, recognizing that a whole lot of things are outside my control, and realizing that stressing about them does not help anyone, least of all me. I am not naturally someone who deals well with uncertainty, but parenthood has been a real growth experience for me in that way. It has already given me so many opportunities to learn to live with not always knowing exactly what's going on or what's going to happen, and just trusting that whatever happens, I will be able to deal with it. Not that I always do it as gracefully as I would like, of course, but I still have time to grow and learn some more!
ETA: By the way, I hope this doesn't come across as a 'dopplers bad' message. I don't think it would be positive for me to have one, but everyone is different. I do think there is value in considering carefully how the information makes you feel and whether or not it is helpful for you personally.
professor & maman de DS1 (6) & DS2 (1)
I definitely wasn't planning on buying one for myself. I do agree with you, it's very tempting! I have it put away right now so I won't use it that much. But I must say, it was nice using it while DH was on Skype with me. He thought it was awesome. He feels like he's a bad father because he won't be here for any of the exciting stuff.
I can imagine how nice it would be for him to be able to have that connection even when he is far away. That's got to be really hard for both of you with him away. Do you know when his tour will be done?
professor & maman de DS1 (6) & DS2 (1)
No doppler here ... I remember my midwife telling me that it's stressful on the babe, but I'd have to go and research it to remember the specifics. I might get a fetoscope this time though! When I turned the bell around on my stethoscope last time I could find the heartbeat after about twenty weeks. It's such a reassuring sound, but yes, having the tool would also add to my stress if one day I couldn't find it! My midwives don't even try with their doppler until about week 15.
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Reviving this older thread to ask if anyone had any studies they wanted to share about the use of dopplers?
My poor dh, who has been struggling with finding ways he can help me, suggested last night that we look into renting a doppler for a few months until I am feeling the baby moving around consistently. I can't explain it but I've had so much more anxiety this time than I ever had with my ds. It is making it hard to even focus on day-to-day tasks right now :( It's been slightly better since I had the ultrasound on Thursday, but it's still impacting my ability to work and take care of the home and my older ds. We wouldn't rent one until after my appointment at the end of March (they should be able to find a heartbeat then, using a doppler). I won't rent one before the dr finds the heartbeat with the doppler because I don't want to stress myself out if it's just too early to find it, ya know? So now I'm stuck between "don't rent a doppler, it could have harmful affects to the baby" and "go ahead and rent one because your stress also has harmful affects to the baby".
Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)
Dopplers are a form of ultrasounds, meaning they use high frequency sound waves. From the babies' perspective, I've read that the noise is equivalent to standing on a closed subway platform when a full speed train zooms by. (I take the commuter rail to work and am forced to tolerate this deafening noise daily).
Like ultrasounds, dopplers have benefits, but they have not been proven to be totally risk-free. However, the AMA and WHO recommend against the use of "recreational" ultrasounds (including dopplers).
For about $20, you can get a fetascope, which is a pretty cool way to practice hearing baby's heartbeat (and doesn't disturb the baby). However, you can't hear fetal heart tones until about 20 weeks. With the midwife I'm currently courting, we discussed this a little- she'll use dopplers in labor and on the initial visit, but the rest of the time, she's fine using a fetascope (by my request).
Every woman's comfort level is different, so what matters is what you are comfortable with. If you want to get a personal doppler, that is obviously your decision, but I absolutely agree with the other comments that you should keep it to a "special occasions only" thing! I can definitely see how having one to skype with your husband while he's away can be really important to both of you, and being able to show him the heartbeat can help make it feel real for him. Are you doing a "weekly photo album" to share with him? Just trying to think of other ideas you can use to share the pregnancy when you are far away from each other.
Doppler ultrasound is actually is actually stronger than the visual ultrasound/sonogram machine. I would be really wary of using a doppler at home regularly.
I agree with the PPs...get a fetascope with a long tube and you'll be able to hear your baby yourself around 20 weeks-ish. There is an element of mystery to this, which is frustrating for some, but pregnancy had only become so technological in the past few decades. Our grandmothers and some of our mothers didn't even have routine access to ultrasound and we all turned out fine, didn't we? I totally understand your need to feel reassured throughout your pregnancy, but think about the pros vs. cons of your choices.
Happily parenting our snuggly wild child since 2007 and her little brother since 2011!
Here's an article that references the original research on baby hearing the ultrasound. http://www.acfnewsource.org/science/ultra_hearing_fetus.html
Also, doppler is not "Stronger" than ultrasound. They are quite different types of waves, but in general, the doppler is less strong: http://www.naturalchildbirth.org/natural/resources/interventions/interventions27.htm
Getting a fetoscope isn't really going to help at all in reassuring an anxiety prone mother. You can't hear til at least 16 weeks, and more likely 28 before reliably hearing with the fetoscope. Most women will be reassured by movements long before then. Also, using a fetoscope is a learned skill. It's not the easiest of skills, and some babies are very difficult to hear even to a trained listener.
I think reducing anxiety is a good thing in any mother. A doppler will not reduce anxiety all by itself. You can't listen 24-7, after all. It only tells you about the baby during the time you listen. The anxious mother will need to use lots of techniques to make it through the tough hours and days. If a doppler rental/purchase is part of a comprehensive plan, it seems totally reasonable to me.
Professionally, as a midwife, I've always used ultrasound and doppler as tools. Personally, with my first pregnancy, I was probably as you expect a midwife to be -
"Who needs an ultrasound? I trust this process. I want my baby, and it might be harmful, even though there isn't a speck of evidence that it is. Why risk it - I don't have any indications?"
As you all know, sometimes pride goes before a Big Fall. I miscarried. Then I had an ectopic pregnancy - something that could have killed me. Then a friend had a baby with a non-fatal birth defect discovered through ultrasound, but the baby needed to be born in hospital, and she's considered maybe no-ultrasound. Then I had two more miscarriages.
So, I've come to a place where I "need" an ultrasound so early in development (to detect a possible ectopic) and I "need" ultrasounds to reassure myself.
I'll probably doppler once a week until I feel movement. Who knows? I keep it open.
After 4 m/c, our is here!
Here's a link to a decent ebay fetoscope:
You need to long cord in order to reach your ears. The $12 ones have a short cord, suitable only for someone other than the mother listening.
This is an excellent US made doppler:
I have used this Chinese made doppler, it works just fine:
After 4 m/c, our is here!