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The monitor itself is fine, but............
Hi Bebe BT200 Fetal Doppler
Member Name: kama0529
Hi Bebe BT200 Fetal Doppler
Advantages: In professional hands its a useful tool.
Disadvantages: Can cause unnecessary anxiety and / or false reassurance.
As a healthcare professional and a mother I have conflicting feelings about the Hi Bebe BT200 Fetal Doppler because, although I appreciate its function, my experience of it not completely favourable. Let me explain that my experience of this device comes from my experience as a health care professional and although I have seen it in use (and used it myself on other people), I have not actually used it myself when I've been pregnant and so this may mean that my take on it is somewhat biased.
The basic function of this fetal doppler is to allow expectant mothers be able to listen in to the heart rate of their baby from about 10 weeks gestation. The idea is that this will provide reassurance to anxious parents as well as help to encourage early bonding between the parents and the baby. There is nothing like the sound of a heart beat to hit home that there really is a baby hiding in there!
The monitor comprises of the sensor probe and the handheld speaker / monitor. The idea is to move the probe over the abdomen until you pick up the fetal heartbeat and then you turn up the speaker loud and marvel at the sound of that little heartbeat hammering away inside of you. There is an LCD screen where you can also see the electrical wave conduction of the fetal heart.
However, my experience of this device lies in the fact that I really believe it is not something that should be used by non-medical and non-trained persons. Although the device comes with an instruction booklet which shows you how to best search for the fetal heart - and what to expect - finding the fetal heart is not always easy, and to be honest even if you do find the heart beat it doesn't always mean that all is well. Midwives, radiologists and obsetricians are trained to know what to look for when monitoring the fetal heart and, quite simply, lay people are not!
I talked to one mother who used the device as instructed and panicked when she was unable to find the fetal heart beat. Of course this happened overnight and she then waited until morning to seek advice from her midwife who did a scan and confirmed that the baby was alive and well. The 8 hours of hell that that mother had to sit through believing that her baby was dead was not reassuring in any way, shape or form - and it was completely unnecessary.
Alternatively I have spoken to another woman who used her Hi Bebe Doppler religiously morning and night as she had a history of late miscarriages or IUD's and she wanted to check that everything was well. She listened in one morning and couldn't find a heart rate and understandably started to panic. She called her midwife who said she would come right over. While she was waiting for the midwife to arrive, she carried on searching for a heart beat and eventually found one, which obviously helped her to relax. Unfortunately, when the midwife arrived it became clear that she had picked up her own heart rate - and unfortunately the baby's heart rate was not beating.
Both of these examples indicate how unhelpful and potentially traumatic it can be to use this monitor when you haven't been trained as a professional in this field. I can understand that it is reassuring to hear the heart rate - but I guess my concern comes with how harmful this device can be when things don't go according to plan.
- If you can't hear the heart beat the reasons are:
You're listening in the wrong place - in which case there will be extreme panic unneccessarily.
There is no heart beat - in which case there has been an intra-uterine death / miscarriage and no one should have to find this out alone and without support.
- If you can hear the heart beat, the reasons are:
All is well - so great.
You're picking up the maternal heart rate and therefore may be falsely assured.
My concerns are that parents are using this as a reassurance aid, particularly when they have concerns that there has been diminished fetal movements or slight bleeding etc. If you have concerns then people should be contacting their doctor or midwife and not using the Hi-Bebe as evidence that all is well because, quite frankly, it just isn't adequate reassurance at all.
I can't help but think that by Bistos putting this on the market for the public to buy they are exploiting the anxieties of expectant parents. I'm not criticising the monitor per se, I'm criticising that the company have opened up selling this monitor to the public and that its function to reassure is a false economy!
Summary: I can't help but conclude that this should not be used by the general public.
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