Expectant parents have been warned by a leading baby charity not to buy a home Doppler machine this Christmas as they could offer false reassurance that all is okay with their baby.
Trained midwives use the device at regular check-up appointments to measure the beats of baby’s heart.
However, to the untrained ear you can easily pick up the heartbeat of the mother or even the pulsating of the placenta and confuse it for the baby’s heartbeat.
The charity Kicks Count is working to reduce the number of stillbirths in the UK by raising awareness of the importance of baby’s movements in determining fetal wellbeing.
As part of its mission it encourages women to keep a close check on baby movements, and warns that the hand-held devices are not appropriate presents for loved ones this Christmas.
A Doppler device in use
Chief executive Elizabeth Hutton told Metro: ‘With Christmas coming, we are urging people not to buy home dopplers for their loved ones as gifts.
At home Dopplers are currently on sale for around £30, while there are an abundance of phone apps which also claim to monitor an unborn baby’s heartbeat.
‘They are not designed to be used as a fun novelty product but should be used only by professional medical staff,’ she warned.
‘In the wrong hands they can provide false reassurance – the placenta, and the mother’s heartbeat can both easily be mistaken for a foetal heartbeat leading to tragic consequences.’
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Kicks Count is calling on the Government to ban home dopplers, and a petition on the issue has so far attracted more than 13,738 signatures.
In addition, Jane Munro of the Royal College of Midwives wrote on the petition statement: ‘We’ve had cases where there has been something wrong with a baby and the mother has been wrongly reassured after hearing her own heartbeat, or the sound of blood pumping through the placenta, leading to a dangerous delay in her seeking medical attention.’