To Dopple or Not To Dopple?! 

  
For the past month or so I’ve been debating whether or not to buy a Doppler to listen to the baby’s heartbeat at home. 

On one hand, I think it could be helpful reassurance when I’m worrying that the baby has died again! My scans are every Monday and I tend to feel reassured until Wednesday, or Thursday if it’s a good week! However by Thursday I’m convinced that the baby is dead, I feel ‘different’, that the sounds of my tummy rumbling sound different, that going to the toilet feels different, that my sore tummy is the first sign of miscarriage starting! In an ideal world if I could use the Doppler on a Thursday, be reassured that the baby is still alive, and then chill out until my next scan on Monday, then the Doppler would be a great idea. 

However I know it’s not that simple. Firstly not being medically trained, what if I can’t find the heartbeat? My consultant said that often the doctors get called to do scans when heartbeats can’t be found on Dopplers because of the baby’s position. If I failed to find the heartbeat would I end up running to the hospital all the time in a complete panic, maybe for no reason? What if the ability to check on the baby became a compulsion in response to my anxious thoughts, and I end up checking multiple times a day because the brief reassurance actually feeds my anxiety? I’ve also read about people being reassured about reduced movements by getting the heartbeat on Dopplers when their babies actually were in distress and they should have gone to hospital. 

Each time I’ve really considered what’s best for my mental health, I’ve decided not to get one. However in the middle of Wednesday or Thursday night I still find myself wishing desperately that I had one. 

I found out a couple of weeks ago that my placenta is anterior this time, this means that I am likely not to feel the baby move as early as I would otherwise, and the movements won’t feel as strong to me as they would if the placenta wasn’t in the way! This was really disappointing as I was counting down the weeks until I could feel the baby move and hoping that the baby would be very active to reassure me. I read some posts on a few forums about having an anterior placenta and some people don’t get strong consistent movement until after 30 weeks! The idea of that really freaked me out and made up my mind on the Doppler question. I decided to get one! 

I ordered the Hi Bebe BT200 LCD Doppler from a seller on eBay just yesterday and it’s already arrived for me to collect in my local Argos store! I’m going to give it a go tonight and try not to worry if I can’t find the heartbeat! I will bring it to my appointment on Monday and ask the midwife to show me the best way to use it. She’ll probably give out to me because I did already ask the doctor and she advised me not to get a Doppler but clearly I didn’t listen! I’m hoping it will help, but if it’s making my anxiety worse hopefully I will have enough insight to see that and get rid of it!! 

For anyone who has had a baby after loss, did you use a Doppler? Why or why not? Very interested in opinions on this! xx 

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9 thoughts on “To Dopple or Not To Dopple?! 

  1. I’ve been wrestling with getting a Doppler myself. For exactly all of the reasons you’ve stated in here. I still haven’t purchased one. (Husband believes it would fuel my anxiety. Which, is probably true.) So far I’m taking it one day at a time. I’m sure if my anxiety gets too high I’ll bite the bullet and purchase one. Until then praying for baby kicks too. Hopefully some movement starts soon.

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  2. I was debating it, still kind of am, but I have the same fear as you- what if I can’t find the heartbeat and freak out. Anxiety, even prior to my losses, came very naturally to me, and I am nervous that a Doppler might do more harm than good, however, the reassurance does seem nice. I have yet to ask my OB about it and might do so next week to get her opinion. I think if the midwife shows you how to use it properly, it might give you a bit of comfort during the months to come. I hope whenever you use it you find the heartbeat right away!

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    1. I was never anxious before! I breezed through my last pregnancy, my biggest worry was that I wouldn’t get my water birth! So managing this is all very new to me. I hope I can benefit from the Doppler or if not to realise that I’m not benefiting and stop!! I imagine your OB will say similar to mine – more hassle than they’re worth! But I’ll keep you posted anyway!! Xx

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  3. I think Dopplers are great as long as you’re aware of what you indicated (that they don’t always detect distress). I don’t know if I’ll use one in the future for the reasons you mentioned but it’s hard to say hypothetically. Do whatever helps you. If the Doppler doesn’t help, you can’t get rid of it too. Hugs, Christine

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    1. Thanks Christine. I can’t see myself going crazy with the Doppler but will keep an eye on it! I think I managed to find the hb today but will bring it to midwife next week and ask her to show me how to use it properly! Hope you’re keeping as well as can be expected xx

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  4. I have two living sons that I never even heard of these when I had them. I’ve had two miscarriages this year. I used the doppler during both. Sonoline B. Found the heart rate aroudn 7 weeks with both. If I couldn’t find it one day I didn’t let myself panic and tried another day. Especially if I was feeling fine. With both my children that I lost the doppler tipped me off something was wrong after feeling a huge change in hormones and a feeling of dread. My doctor didn’t even believe me the last time till he did a “reassuring” ultrasound and I was right. I’ve since sold it. I’m not trying again till May anyways and I haven’t decided if I will use one again. It was definitely reassuring till baby died obviously. Good luck!

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    1. It’s so out of our control what happens and that’s so hard! I hope you are looking after yourself well and managing as best you can after your losses. Best of luck for whenever you decide to try again x

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