Friday 4 September 2015

Why I'm still using a fetal doppler after my miscarriage

Why I'm still using a fetal doppler after my miscarriage

I know midwives and hospitals generally warn you about using fetal doppler's however I have always liked the idea of being able to check up on my baby when I am feeling anxious or worried. It's not always that easy to pop in and see the midwife and sometimes if you're not having pain or bleeding, they won't see you at all. They say you have to be trained to use them however I believe if you know what you're listening for and you know how far down to search, you can't do much wrong.

If you don't know the back story about my last pregnancy, I will quickly recap so you can follow the moral of this post.. 


I was pregnant last year and started using the doppler to hear the baby's heartbeat around 11 weeks. I used it once or twice a week from then on. I always found it straight away in the same place and everything was fine. When I was about 14 weeks, I got the doppler out to check the baby and I couldn't find the heartbeat. I tried for about 10 minutes and still couldn't find it. I tried not to panic and tried again in the morning, still no heartbeat found. I waited one more day and tried the next morning and after trying for about 30 minutes, I still couldn't find it. I knew my baby no longer had a heartbeat.

 I went to the drop in clinic at the hospital where the midwife tried to find it and couldn't.. she even tried another doppler and still couldn't find it. She was actually quite rude to me about it, she said 'this is why we don't do the heartbeat until 16 weeks, because it's hard to find. The baby is probably hiding or you have been listening to your own heartbeat all these weeks.' 

Now I'm no midwife but I know the difference between a heartbeat of an adult and one of a baby; a baby's is twice as fast! I had definitely been listening to my baby's and now all of a sudden it wasn't there or was 'hiding' bloody damn well! She basically told me I was worrying over nothing and to go home. I protested and begged her to get me a scan as I could feel that something was wrong. 

I had a scan the next day that confirmed our baby had no heartbeat at 14 weeks 4 days and I was induced to deliver him two days later at 14 weeks 6 days. 


So yes, I used the doppler and found my baby had no heartbeat. But the doppler is not WHY my baby had no heartbeat. Doppler's are not dangerous to the baby and do not cause any harm to the baby, all they do is allow you to listen to the heartbeat.

The reason midwives and hospitals warn you against them is because sometimes, the baby may very well be hiding, you may get confused with your own heartbeat or you may be searching in the wrong place.. then if you don't find the heartbeat, it can cause you undue worry when everything is actually fine. 

I believe it is personal choice wether you want to use one or not. If you educate yourself on what your baby's heartbeat should sound like and where it is likely to be, you have more chance of finding it and not panicking. 

If anything, I'd rather find out from using a doppler over finding out any other way. I feel like I had 3 days to prepare myself for the news as deep down, I already knew from the first time of not finding it that it was not there. I often think if I hadn't have used it, how else would we have known? I may have just started bleeding, I may have just suddenly started having pain, gone into labour or my body not have even realised and I may have made it to my 16 week midwife appointment only for them to tell me the devastating news totally out of the blue.

The thought I could have gone home when that midwife told me too and continued carrying a baby with no heartbeat for up to 2 weeks is horrible and that is why I have decided to use it again this time round. 

If it happens again, I want to know as soon as possible in the least dramatic or horrific ways that it could otherwise happen.

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