DIY fetal heart rate monitors

For further information about pregnancy, birth or private midwifery, contact Melissa Maimann at Essential Birth Consulting. Link

The joys and worries of pregnancy... can be numerous. One way moms-to-be often comfort themselves is with an at-home personal fetal monitor (Doppler device). The sound of baby's heartbeat is certainly reassuring, but can the sounds of a normal heartbeat give the entire picture of a growing infant's health?

A hand-held Doppler device assesses the presence of fetal heart pulsations only at that moment, and it is used by midwives and obstetricians ... "In untrained hands it is more likely that blood flow through the placenta or the mother's main blood vessels will be heard," say the authors.

The article outlines a case of a ... mom-to-be (at 32 weeks into her first pregnancy) with reduced fetal movements; She had first noted a reduction in her baby's activity two days earlier but had used her own Doppler device to listen to the heartbeat and reassured herself that everything was normal.

... Speaking as the mother of two sons born in a birthing tub at home, assisted by midwives, I can agree that it is tempting to try to assuage worries for our baby's health using a variety of methods ... The bottom line: A safe ... birth of a healthy infant requires regular and attentive care by a ... midwife or doctor. There are no appropriate substitutes for experienced care by qualified health practitioners.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448