Charity calls for ban on home baby heart monitors
A UK pregnancy charity named Kicks Count is calling on the government to ban doppler machines saying they often end up giving women a false sense of hope when something is in fact very wrong.
In an effort to get the government's attention they have already set up an online petition in the hopes of reducing the current 3,600 stillbirths each year in the UK. So far it has attracted lots of attention, accumulating over 7000 signatures already.
Home dopplers claim to monitor a baby’s heartbeat during pregnancy, however, according to the Independent, chief executive of Kicks Count, Elizabeth Hutton said,
“Midwives and doctors train for many years to interpret what they hear through a doppler. An untrained pregnant woman does not have the necessary skills to understand what she is hearing. The placenta and the mother’s heartbeat can both easily be mistaken for a foetal heartbeat and women can be falsely reassured.”
She went on to say that simply because there is a heartbeat is not an indication of a baby’s health and it can often be too late to save a baby who hasn’t received proper medical care on time.
On the other hand, the doppler machines can lead to unnecessary concern from parents. Mandy Forrester, head of quality and standards at the Royal College of Midwives agreed with Hutton’s concerns and said,
“Firstly, the machines can lead to unnecessary stress for women when they are unable to find a heartbeat using the personal doppler and secondly, that women may be falsely reassured by hearing what they think is their baby's heartbeat when it is actually their own.”
She also explained that the best way for a mum to monitor baba’s wellbeing is to try and recognise their individual patterns throughout the pregnancy when it comes to how baby moves and kicks. If a baby is less active than usual, she advises expectant mums to contact their doctor.