What are the risks of using an at-home fetal Doppler?
In an era where almost, everybody uses at-home fetal Doppler devices to monitor the heartbeats of their babies, it feels awkward to be left behind. However, it is important to understand that there are a few risks that are associated with using Doppler devices and as such, proceeding with caution is very important. In this article, I am going to take a look at some of the risks that may be associated with using Doppler devices on your baby.
Heating fetal tissue
Fetal heart Doppler devices are usually based on ultrasound waves. That means that they use ultrasound waves to detect heartbeats. On the other hand, ultrasound waves are known to generate heat on the surfaces they come into contact with. In the case of body tissues, ultrasound can generate tin y bubbles inside the said tissues. Thermal risks and the ability to aggravate fetal tissues that are associated with ultrasound make it risky for fetuses.
To help avoid this problem, one is advised not to hold the device in one place for too long. Trained technicians usually know how to use the device well by shifting its position from time to time to prevent thermal risks. However, inexperienced people tend to keep the Doppler in one location because they want to listen to the baby’s heartbeat for long.
Not finding a heartbeat
Not being able to find the heartbeat of your fetus is something that is often associated with at-home Doppler devices. Most pregnant women are usually not able to locate the heartbeat of their babies, something that often leads unnecessary worry and panic. For you to detect the heartbeat of your baby, the sound beam that is generated by the device must be aligned with the heart of the fetus in order to register a heartbeat. If that doesn’t happen, the heartbeat cannot be detected. As you can expect, not every pregnant woman out there is usually able to make this alignment and when they can’t they resolve to unnecessary worry and panic.
Another reason why it is sometimes hard to detect a heartbeat is that, most Doppler devices that are present on the market are not regulated, which means they are usually not of standard quality. This can lead to ultrasound exposure for the fetus.
Finding your own heartbeat
This may not fall under a risk, but it is something that happens quite often. Many at times, women who use Doppler devices often detect their own heartbeats and think that they found the heartbeat of their baby. Therefore, this makes them to have a false sense of reassurance. Dopplers simply pick-up sound from any moving part in the body, including the mother’s heartbeat and blood flow. For someone who doesn’t know what exactly they need to be listening to, it is very easy to confuse sounds from other sources for the baby’s heartbeat. Because of these possibilities, it is highly recommendable to always see a doctor when you are pregnant for them to perform the Doppler test and if you have to do it on your own, it should only be supplemental.