Safety concerns with home Dopplers
Even though fetal Dopplers may sound like a very good way of hearing your baby’s heartbeat, they come with safety risks of their own. There isn’t any documented risk associated with Dopplers, but it is advisable to use them only when the doctor is already using them on you.
Three ways to monitor fetal heart rate
Being pregnant is usually a blessing to most parents in the world. The feeling of bringing new life into the world in your own kindness is usually overwhelming. Parents usually want to do everything they can to their unborn babies and even after they are born. To ensure the safety of the baby as well as that of the mother, there are usually a lot of tests that need to be performed on both individuals. Some tests are mandatory and are applied on all women, while others are reserved for specific women depending on special circumstances. Some of the tests that cut across all women are ultrasound, genetic screening, urine tests, and fetal Doppler tests among others.
Fetal heart Doppler testing is usually done on pregnant women to test and check the viability of the heartbeat of the unborn child. Electronic fetal heart monitoring is usually performed to keep track of the heart rate of the child. It helps to determine the duration and strength of the contractions of the mother. It is important to know how the child is fairing on their way to meet the world so that in case there is any problem that interferes with the process of normal delivery, a C-section can be performed as a matter of urgency.
There are three methods through which the heart of a fetus can be monitored as discussed below.
This is a pretty common method that doctors use these days to monitor the heartbeat of the baby during pregnancy. In this method, sensors are placed on the belly of the mother and maintained in place using elastic bands or any other suitable method. The sensors are then linked to a machine that helps with recording uterine contractions of the mother and the heart rate of the baby.
There may be cases where this method is not effective for various reasons. These reasons include the mother having too much weight, the baby being too small, or the baby moving too much. In that case, the following method may be used.
Internal baby monitoring is usually in high-risk situations where external monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat has failed. In this method, the doctor will insert a thin electrode and attach it to the scalp of the baby to allow continuous monitoring of their heart beat. The electrode is passed through the vagina and then connected to an external machine that records the baby’s heartbeat. Besides the electrode, a small tube is also inserted into the vagina to record uterine contractions.
In some low-risk situations, it may be necessary to maintain continuous monitoring of the heartbeat of the child. In this method, the doctor will use a stethoscope or a hand-held ultrasound device that they hold against the belly of the delivering mother. This way, the devices records the heartbeat of the child continuously. This method is only used if the doctor has some suspicion that something may be wrong.