A word from us on home dopplers

At Tommy’s we have noticed there has been lots of coverage about the use of dopplers at home on the news and social media recently, so we want to spread the message about the consequences their use can have.

Home doppler

by Kate, Midwifery Manager for Tommy’s Information Service 

Midwife Kate Pinney


Hearing your baby’s heartbeat is precious and reassuring for many parents; however it is important that only midwives and trained health professionals use a doppler to listen in.

When using a hand held doppler it is possible for there to be some confusion with the mother’s own heartbeat and pulsing of the placenta which can be doubled to sound like the baby’s heartbeat. This means that when you listen in, you may not be hearing the baby’s heartbeat at all and can be falsely reassured.

It is also very difficult to listen to the baby’s heartbeat before about 14-16 weeks, so if you are unable to hear it, this may cause lots of unnecessary panic and anxiety.

Keeping an eye on your baby’s movements is the best way for parents to monitor their wellbeing. If you have any concerns about your baby’s movements; whether they have slowed down or changed pattern, you must contact your maternity unit immediately to be monitored properly.

What is a hand held doppler?

Hand doppler

Hand held Dopplers are pocket-sized, battery-operated devices that send out high-frequency ultrasound waves. There's usually a handset, a built-in speaker, and a transducer that's placed against your bump. The ultrasound waves pass through your skin and tissue, and then bounce back. This bounce is then translated into sound.

Read more about monitoring your baby's movements pregnancy

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    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Liesa (not verified) on 7 Nov 2019 - 06:17

      I was wondering if a home Doppler would stop my niece worrying something is wrong with baby ... My niece has high anxiety she is 22 weeks pregnant with a little boy ..
      Hope you can give me some advice

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