No home scanning device, doppler or app can tell you if your baby is well

Our midwife Kate strongly advises against using home devices for 'reassurance', or mobile apps that falsely claim to be able to monitor your baby's heartbeat.

Pregnant woman using smartphone.

We’ve noticed a worrying rise in the number of mobile apps claiming to be able to monitor your unborn baby’s heartbeat, and now there's even a device that supposedly allows you to do home scans! As with home dopplers, these apps and devices may sound tempting but they are not a safe way to listen to your baby’s heartbeat or check if they are well. That can only be done by a midwife or health professional who has received special training and knows what to listen and look for.

Unless you are professionally trained, it is easy to confuse what you are hearing or seeing and be falsely reassured.

There is also little regulation of these apps and devices, and the claims they make. There is often no way of knowing if the technology has been tested, how it's been tested, and whether any health professionals have been involved. 

Our midwife Kate explains:

“When using an app or 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.”

At Tommy’s, we are really concerned by the increase of any unacredited app or device on the market and strongly advise pregnant women against using them. Monitoring your baby’s movements is still the best way for parents to keep an eye on their wellbeing. If you notice a change in your baby’s movements; if they have slowed down or changed pattern then you should contact your maternity unit immediately to be professionally monitored.

Read more about monitoring your baby's movements.

Read more about the risks of home dopplers.

More on monitoring your baby's movements

  • Esme

    Story

    Stillbirth and explaining baby loss to children

    Frankie's first pregnancy was low risk, largely problem free. At 38 weeks and 2 days, Frankie experienced reduced movements and sadly baby Esme was stillborn. With small children in her wider family, Frankie turned to books to try and explain the tragic loss of Esme - but couldn't find anything suitable. It was then that she created the beautifully illustrated book 'These Precious Little People', for families affected by the death of a baby.

  • A woman experiencing reduced fetal movements

    Reporting reduced fetal movements

    Are you worried about your baby’s reduced movements? This leaflet outlines the care that you should expect to receive, depending on which stage of the pregnancy you are at.

More pregnancy in the news

  • Baby

    Blog

    What is a tongue-tie?

    Samantha Tanak, midwife and tongue-tie division practitioner talks to us about baby tongue-tie. Samantha is passionate about supporting women in the postnatal period, which is often neglected and less planned for than the other stages of having a baby.

  • Nseko and her twins

    Blog

    My tandem feeding story

    Although my twins haven’t always been exclusively breastfed, I have loved our breastfeeding journey. In all honestly, it's been more fun than I thought it would be and an amazing experience in terms of bonding with my babies.

  • Image of woman's feet walking through a park, pushing a pram

    News

    Survey results show mums are struggling to connect

    86% of pregnant women and new mums have been feeling a lack of social interaction during COVID-19 pandemic.

    Was this information useful?

    Yes No

    Comments

    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 Fiona Cuthill (not verified) on 13 Nov 2018 - 08:33

      Is like a type of jurk or muscle spasm baby moving

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Nov 2018 - 10:28

      Baby movements in the womb, also known as fetal movements or ‘kicks’, can feel like anything from a flutter, kick, swish or roll. The type of movement may change as your pregnancy progresses.

    Add new comment