I feel like a horrible mother for not knowing that a doppler had radiation, as much as an ultrasound. - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-25-2010, 01:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel stupid and horrible. I had my appointment this morning with my midwife, and she did a doppler on me. She mentioned that a doppler has just as much radiation as an ultrasound!! I didn't want to expose my baby to any amount of radiation. Now I wake up at three in the morning feeling stupid and terrible and like a horrible mother for exposing my baby to something I didn't even ask about beforehand. Not only did we use the technology, but we didn't hear a heartbeat, which scared the hell out of me, and felt pressurous to use even more technology to make sure everything was okay. Which, I didn't, but I almost did, because I'm scared that maybe my baby won't make it. I have had a miscarriage before. So, now we are wondering if my dates are incorrect, and that this baby is even younger than I thought. My midwife offered to take me to another doctor who had ultrasound equipment after her work, but I turned down the suggestion. Not only would my boyfriend not be able to come (wouldn't want to find out anything bad without him) but I didn't want to expose the baby to more radiation. But, now also I feel terrible, because I didn't hear the baby's heartbeat, and because I stupidly used a doppler without even asking / knowing what it was. I just feel horrible.

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Old 11-25-2010, 05:48 AM
 
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You poor thing, it sounds like you are being very hard on yourself.

 

Firstly, I can completely understand your worry when you didn't hear the heartbeat but I have heard it is very common when baby is so young. I was told by one midwife that they couldn't find my daughters heartbeat (when I was 37 weeks!!)...so I know these doppler things are not spot on every time!

 

Second, please don't beat yourself up for agreeing to something you were not fully informed about. I TRY and go AS intervention free as I can when pregnant, but here in the U.K we receive 2 free ultrasounds as standard (at 13 & 20 wks) and not only do I have them, I also LOVE them. 

 

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it gives you peace of mind, a stressed out pregnancy is the last thing you need. If you decide on the ultrasound, enjoy it...and if you decide not to, enjoy that too! Also, just a thought, I'm sure I remember some Mama's on here talking about an instrument some midwives use to hear the heartbeat without the use of ultrasound...not sure of the name maybe someone can tell you some more about that.

 


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Old 11-25-2010, 06:36 AM
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For what it's worth, ultrasound does not give off radiation. It uses sound waves to bounce off of objects and produce a computerized image. Doppler works in a similar fashion. But it's not radiation. X-ray and CT use radiation, not ultrasound, and not Doppler.

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Old 11-25-2010, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ((Lolly))

I need to find ways of relaxing more. I'd love to know a non ultrasound way of hearing the heartbeat. Maybe a stethoscope? I'll ask my midwife, and let her know that I don't want any radiation at all. Or any invasive anything at all. I need to forgive myself, but sometimes I just have so much anxiety over it, because I have had a miscarriage before. I know the anxiety and stress doesn't help! I'm trying to do relaxing techniques every day.

 

((2xy)) all ultrasound devices give off some radiation.

 

 

http://birthowl.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/ultrasound-doppler-and-fetal-monitor-risks/

 

"the sound a handheld doppler device puts out is 30 times stronger than an Ultrasound! Loud!"

 

"While the risks of ultrasound, doppler & fetal monitor during pregnancy are not fully known at this point, it is important that people realize all of these machines put out a form of radiation, some at stronger levels than others, with the hand-held doppler generally being the most intense."

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Old 11-25-2010, 08:08 AM
 
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Please don't be so hard on yourself!  My goodness!  This is so minor really.  I understand your point of view because I aimed for no intervention with my last child and will do the same for this one.  However, look at the billions of children around the world who've had interventions throughout their life in the womb as well as earthside who are fine.  Perfectly fine!  Sure someday it might contribute to their getting cancer at 65...but just about everything around us will contribute to cancer.  You simply can't breathe the air without putting yourself at risk for toxins.  It's the world we live in.  What's important is to do our best to combat these things with the best nutrition and emotional well being we can possibly obtain given the circumstances.  While there may be a bit of radiation that ocurred with the dopplar...your baby is okay.  If there is some chromosomal abnormality that causes a miscarriage, well that will happen regardless, and should.  But if this baby is meant to be, interventions won't jinx him/her.  Certainly not a dopplar reading. 

 

It sounds to me like your anxiety could be more damaging.  Ongoing anxiety is troublesome and can lead to complications requiring interventions.  So the best thing now is to corral those fears (while still paying attention to your obviosuly strong mother bear instincts).  Could you try Hypnobabies CD's?  They are super relaxing and great at building confidence in how the pregnancy journey is unfolding.  Prenatal yoga, meditation, a nightly warm bath with nourishing nettles and raspberry tea? 

 

Listen, I feel for you because I am someone who struggles with anxiety and when you've had a miscarriage and you're carrying a precious baby that you would give your life for...you don't want ANYTHING to stand in the way of this dream materializing.  But YOU are not stupid.  YOU are not a terrible mother.  You're obviously a highly invested and deeply caring mother.  As long as you don't get carried away with the worries and fears, you'll likely make mostly the right decisions along this whole journey.  And no mother will be perfect and make ALL the right decisions ALL of the time.  Once going through pregnancy and parenthood, even the most confident of women tend to grow a new a differnent kind of confidence once they become a mother.

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Old 11-25-2010, 10:24 AM
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There are different types of radiation. When most people refer to radiation in health care, they are referring to the kind used in x-rays, which is ionizing radiation. Ultrasound radiation is non-ionizing radiation. All radiation is not bad. Visible light is a type of radiation, yet most of us don't spend our lives in complete darkness.

 

I know ultrasound is a hot topic on MDC and I'm not going to try to convince you that it's no big deal, but it's certainly not going to cause the sort of damage that x-rays cause....because it's not that kind of radiation. People do a disservice to medical technology and cause unnecessary fear when they write haphazardly about such topics.

 

And yes, all the risks of ultrasound are not known at this point. However, ultrasound has been used in a medical setting for over 40 years with no real evidence that it causes any problems when used correctly....as in, used by people who are TRAINED in ultrasound. Those "womb-with-a-view" keepsake places, medical doctors and nurses, and other non-certified personnel often know how to take the pictures but not how to use the settings on the machine that control frequency.

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Old 11-25-2010, 01:06 PM
 
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1.  You are not a horrible mother because there was just one thing out there in the realm of pregnancy and birth that you didn't fully understand.  Really.  I promise!  It just means you're not perfect- and you won't be a perfect parent.  That's something we all just have to live with.

 

2.  If you don't want doppler/ultrasound in the future, you can hear the baby's heartbeat with a fetoscope (essentially a stethoscope), but not until much later than you would with a Doppler- 16-20 weeks or so.

 

3.  I'm not a big fan of routine ultrasound/doppler myself, but they do certainly have their place, and millions of children have been exposed to them in utero with no negative effects.  (now, I'm not saying that they don't have risks, but honestly the odds are that your baby took no harm from one doppler scan)

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Old 11-26-2010, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Dot-to-Dot View Post

Please don't be so hard on yourself!  My goodness!  This is so minor really.  I understand your point of view because I aimed for no intervention with my last child and will do the same for this one.  However, look at the billions of children around the world who've had interventions throughout their life in the womb as well as earthside who are fine.  Perfectly fine!  Sure someday it might contribute to their getting cancer at 65...but just about everything around us will contribute to cancer.  You simply can't breathe the air without putting yourself at risk for toxins.  It's the world we live in.  What's important is to do our best to combat these things with the best nutrition and emotional well being we can possibly obtain given the circumstances.  While there may be a bit of radiation that ocurred with the dopplar...your baby is okay.  If there is some chromosomal abnormality that causes a miscarriage, well that will happen regardless, and should.  But if this baby is meant to be, interventions won't jinx him/her.  Certainly not a dopplar reading. 

 

It sounds to me like your anxiety could be more damaging.  Ongoing anxiety is troublesome and can lead to complications requiring interventions.  So the best thing now is to corral those fears (while still paying attention to your obviosuly strong mother bear instincts).  Could you try Hypnobabies CD's?  They are super relaxing and great at building confidence in how the pregnancy journey is unfolding.  Prenatal yoga, meditation, a nightly warm bath with nourishing nettles and raspberry tea? 

 

Listen, I feel for you because I am someone who struggles with anxiety and when you've had a miscarriage and you're carrying a precious baby that you would give your life for...you don't want ANYTHING to stand in the way of this dream materializing.  But YOU are not stupid.  YOU are not a terrible mother.  You're obviously a highly invested and deeply caring mother.  As long as you don't get carried away with the worries and fears, you'll likely make mostly the right decisions along this whole journey.  And no mother will be perfect and make ALL the right decisions ALL of the time.  Once going through pregnancy and parenthood, even the most confident of women tend to grow a new a differnent kind of confidence once they become a mother.


Thanks so much ((Dot-to-Dot)) I needed that. I know I can't be perfect. I think that I have so much previous pregnancy / birth trauma, that its bringing up stuff this time around. I need to remember, that yes, one doppler scan isn't going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back. And, yes, probably my anxiety is the real big issue. I am trying to do some Shiva Rea prenatal yoga and relaxation once a day. I think drinking tea while in my rocking chair might also be comforting. I was told that having hot baths was a no go for pregnancy, cause I like it super hot, like steaming. And, for a long time. As soon as I've given birth, I will take the most hottest relaxing bath ever with candles and incense, etc... Maybe I should do the candles and incense thing in my house anyways. Give that calming / relaxing effect. 

 

I have heard of hypnobirth, but don't really know anything about it. I'll look it up and see if I think it might also help. Thanks so much for your grounding words!!!

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Old 11-26-2010, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There are different types of radiation. When most people refer to radiation in health care, they are referring to the kind used in x-rays, which is ionizing radiation. Ultrasound radiation is non-ionizing radiation. All radiation is not bad. Visible light is a type of radiation, yet most of us don't spend our lives in complete darkness.

 

I know ultrasound is a hot topic on MDC and I'm not going to try to convince you that it's no big deal, but it's certainly not going to cause the sort of damage that x-rays cause....because it's not that kind of radiation. People do a disservice to medical technology and cause unnecessary fear when they write haphazardly about such topics.

 

And yes, all the risks of ultrasound are not known at this point. However, ultrasound has been used in a medical setting for over 40 years with no real evidence that it causes any problems when used correctly....as in, used by people who are TRAINED in ultrasound. Those "womb-with-a-view" keepsake places, medical doctors and nurses, and other non-certified personnel often know how to take the pictures but not how to use the settings on the machine that control frequency.


Thanks ((2xy)) I knew that it wasn't like a regular x-ray. I think my anxiety was just getting the better of me. One doppler (or probably more than that) isn't going to harm the baby beyond measure. If it would, they wouldn't be allowing them for pregnancy. Thanks for your reassuring words!

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Old 11-26-2010, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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1.  You are not a horrible mother because there was just one thing out there in the realm of pregnancy and birth that you didn't fully understand.  Really.  I promise!  It just means you're not perfect- and you won't be a perfect parent.  That's something we all just have to live with.

 

2.  If you don't want doppler/ultrasound in the future, you can hear the baby's heartbeat with a fetoscope (essentially a stethoscope), but not until much later than you would with a Doppler- 16-20 weeks or so.

 

3.  I'm not a big fan of routine ultrasound/doppler myself, but they do certainly have their place, and millions of children have been exposed to them in utero with no negative effects.  (now, I'm not saying that they don't have risks, but honestly the odds are that your baby took no harm from one doppler scan)

 

Thanks so much ((prothyraia)) I was letting my anxiety get the better of me, I think. I'm not likely going to do any more dopplers, mostly cause I'm concerned for the baby's hearing, and all other potential unknowns. But, I also feel better, knowing that one little doppler isn't going to do damage beyond measure. I know I am not perfect, and won't be. I really need to lighten up on that. Breathe!!! Thanks for letting me know about the fetoscope! I'll definitely suggest that for the future. Well, actually, probably in a month or so. And, definitely, if there was something going wrong, etc, or there was some concern, definitely they do have their place. I am starting to think, though, that technology would escalate my anxiety and fears more than anything. So, I think I just need to relax and really look into myself and learn this inner trusting and intuition.
 

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Old 11-27-2010, 12:03 PM
 
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I work in radiation oncology, and spend a lot of time chatting with the physicists about the subject.  The modern world is FULL of opportunities to be exposed to small amounts of radiation.  Yes, an ultrasound machine can expose you and your baby to a vanishingly small amount of radiation (not ionizing radiation, like an x-ray).  You'll probably be exposed to a similar amount while working on your computer everyday, or walking through a department store.  It is very difficult to avoid being exposed to any radiation, ever.  Most radiation is harmless, as 2xy said.

 

Even following the Chernobyl disaster, victims not exposed to the immediate burning or poisoning levels of radiation experienced long term health effects rarely, the most common effect being curable thyroid cancer.  Those people were exposed to a far higher radiation dose than most of us will be exposed to in our life time (excepting, of course, those who are treated with high dose radiation), including those of us who will have the occassional x-ray or ct-scan over the course of our lives.

 

So, in short, the chance that you harmed your baby with this one doppler scan is vanishingly small to non-existant. 

 

I'm not bashing anyone's decision to avoid taking even that miniscule chance.  I'm just saying, don't beat yourself up over one doppler scan.  You can avoid it in the future without having to worry that just one did damage.

 

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Old 11-27-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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I really hate the 'your anxiety is worse than x" argument because it tends to put aside the very real concerns of a great number of hot button issues, and seems really self-serving... I'm not saying that's what's happening here, only that it reminded me of that, so no one freak. ;) This is more relevant to that really awful thing I hear repeated often by doctors which is, "it's safer to keep smoking than to quit" because the 'anxiety' is worse for the baby than lack of oxygen and exposure to all the chemicals in cigarettes. Even though this has been disproved over and over again... people put "worry" during pregnancy on this bizarre pedestal like it's the worst possible thing you can do. I don't get it! Plus, way to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. :lol

 

Anyway, point being: radiation isn't quite the right word and while YES you did expose your baby to doppler ultrasound which is a hot button issue and overexposure or unnecessary exposure has been recommended against by major health organizations (for instance, the "3D baby" souvenir ultrasounds are no recommended due to unnecessary exposure to medical imaging devices) I wouldn't be worried it'll make her grow an extra head or something. Listening to your baby a few times on the doppler? Probably not cause for concern. Buying one of those 'home dopplers' and listening 2-4 hours a day, every day, for six months? Bigger cause for concern. There is evidence that ultrasound effects developing brains and cells... but the "how" and "why" isn't exactly clear, and therefore opinions are mixed though the overall consensus remains, "use only when necessary". In the end it's a medical device, and you shouldn't use any medical diagnostic tools frivolously... even to relieve anxiety. :-P

But in the end it's all about how you'd like to go through your pregnancy. I try and go through with as little unnecessary exposure as possible, and prefer to use a fetoscope over a doppler as there's no risk to that (theoretical or proven), but my personal preferences may not be the same as someone else's.

 

Your anxiety ALSO isn't going to kill your baby, for the record, it's not going to cause sunshine to peek over her head either but the point is not to worry about worrying. :-P 


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Old 11-28-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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You can actually buy your own fetoscope.  They aren't expensive.  It can be tricky to find the heartbeat yourself (and you can't do it until later like someone already mentioned), but when you do find it...so sweet.  I used to lay in bed at night and would look for it.  As long as you are ok with not finding the heartbeat as often as you do find it, it is a very cool tool to have.  My midwife never had a problem finding the heartbeat using it though, so clearly the more experience you have the more success you have.


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Old 11-28-2010, 06:00 PM
 
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You can actually buy your own fetoscope.  They aren't expensive.  It can be tricky to find the heartbeat yourself (and you can't do it until later like someone already mentioned), but when you do find it...so sweet.  I used to lay in bed at night and would look for it.  As long as you are ok with not finding the heartbeat as often as you do find it, it is a very cool tool to have.  My midwife never had a problem finding the heartbeat using it though, so clearly the more experience you have the more success you have.



This!! I got a fetoscope with my second at about 22 weeks and immediately found the heartbeat. With my next pregnancies it was about 16 weeks that I found it. Takes some practice but it makes the reward even sweeter. :)


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Old 11-29-2010, 09:05 AM
 
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we also try to reduce the amount of ultrasound exposure.  We agree to one US during pregnancy (unless it is really necessary) and we did doppler last visit and will be doing it next visit and that will be it.  Please don't beat yourself up about it.  You know now and will make the adjustment, that is all that matters.  shine.gif


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Old 11-29-2010, 09:20 AM
 
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we also try to reduce the amount of ultrasound exposure.  We agree to one US during pregnancy (unless it is really necessary) and we did doppler last visit and will be doing it next visit and that will be it.  Please don't beat yourself up about it.  You know now and will make the adjustment, that is all that matters.  shine.gif



Yep. I have no qualms about having a 20 week u/s and I used to doppler at 12 weeks and will again at 16 if I am not feeling movement by then.

 

I think in your case, it's kind of like drinking, lots of women feel really guilty about drinking before they find out they are pregnant but since you can't unring a bell, I'd just decide whether or not you are comfortable with any more doppler and go from there.


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Old 12-05-2010, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wanted everyone to know that we had a miscarriage at 4am this morning. It was pretty quick, all things considering. Turns out, there was no baby in there. It was a blighted ovum. Now just trying to heal and replenish. We are sad that we will not be parents soon, but also glad that a baby did not die. 

 

Thanks everyone for your support.

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Old 12-05-2010, 04:58 PM
 
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I am so, so sorry.  I hope you heal, both mentally and physically, quickly and can try again. 


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Old 12-05-2010, 06:40 PM
 
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I'm so sorry. :(


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Old 12-05-2010, 07:29 PM
 
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I'm very sorry for your loss.

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Old 12-06-2010, 02:35 AM
 
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I'm sorry: that's really hard. :(

 

FWIW, I considered myself pretty darn educated about pregnancy and childbirth last time, but I didn't even THINK about doppler use as a potential issue - even though I tried to avoid unnecessary ultrasounds. This time I'm avoiding the doppler, simply because it seems kind of inconsistent to do one but not the other (although I do plan to have the 20-week anatomy scan). Interestingly, my midwife said the fetoscope probably wouldn't work until 26 weeks or so, so I was expecting to see the baby before I heard it! I'm pleased to hear it can be used earlier than that, though. Anyway - my point is, there is SO much to know about pregnancy, birth and the like. There will ALWAYS be something we find out after the fact - "Ooh, I wasn't supposed to eat that?" or "I was meant to supplement with that?", or "[routine intervention] is linked to [rare complication]?"... or we can know all about the major "conditions" like gestational diabetes and placenta previa, and then get caught completely by surprise by some off-the-wall condition that one in a million women gets. You know? It doesn't mean that we are ignorant, neglectful mothers - it means we're people.

 

Also, I wish midwives would be clearer about the doppler thing. Neither of mine told me that it used ultrasound waves. You'd think, being midwives, that they'd get enough crunchy/low intervention-type clients who might want to decline them if they knew about it. It doesn't seem to be common knowledge, so I think they should just say before using it the first time, "This uses ultrasound waves", explain how equivalent it is to an ultrasound, and give people the choice. You know?


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Old 12-06-2010, 07:54 AM
 
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I'm so sorry for your loss.


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Old 12-06-2010, 10:49 AM
 
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so very sorry.


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Old 12-06-2010, 11:43 AM
 
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I'm very sorry.  Take care of yourself.   hug.gif


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Refbacks are Off