Doppler Use at Home


Dear Midwife,
I have rented a doppler so I can hear my baby's heart beat at home. Its the same one the doctors use at the office.

But I can't seem to hear the baby heart beat like we did in the doctors office. All I hear is my own heart beat.

I am wondering if something is wrong, if there is still a live fetus.

I am not bleeding at all. Can you help me and give me some info on this?



Because of exactly what is happening to you, I am not a big fan of home dopplers. I really do not want moms to be worrying all the time, and they have not been to school to learn the proper use of dopplers, so they are not especially good at it.

I would rather have a woman come in to see me if she is worried, so it gets done right, and she gets reassured and can relax. But what I like even better is for a woman to learn to know what is going on in her own body, so she can tell by herself whether everything is normal.

All this dependence on ultrasounds, dopplers and other mechanical devices takes away from the power of a woman to connect directly with her baby before it is even born. We have taught young women that they only way they can know about their baby is by having machines tell them things, and that is just not true.

Congratulations on your pregnancy, and here's wishing you a lovely pregnancy and safe delivery.

-- Cynthia, CNM


I found the tone of this

I found the tone of this answer to be insulting. I have not, nor do I intend to rent a dopler because I fear I will not use it correctly and worry for nothing. So, technically, I agree with the midwife. However, suggesting that mothers are out of touch with their baby's because they worry and do not KNOW when things are right is both insensitive and, forgive me for being blunt, rude and ignorant. Most pregnant women I've spoken to do not fully understand the changes they are going through or what is or is not "normal". How could we? We are not specialists. Assuming that my worries are due to a lack of connection with my baby and a reliance on machines seems to me to show only a lack of compassion by you. KNOWING something and having it verified by a proper medical test are two very different things. I could KNOW I'm dying tomorrow and be totally wrong. This answer was biased and unprofessional.

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.