Re-Grow Roots

Learning to live harmoniously in Missouri.

Are Fetal Dopplers Really Safe?


On my first visit with my midwife, she had me lay down on the bed and checked the babies heartbeat with her fetal doppler. I’ve done some research on ultrasounds ability to damage the growing fetus with it’s super high soundwaves and I have no desire to get an ultrasound done. I have talked to several friends who have seen speech impediments and learning disabilities with their children who received more than two ultrasounds. Since the doppler is a much lower sound frequency than the ultrasound, I decided to go for it. It was so exciting to hear our baby’s little heartbeat! And then came the pains…

My whole abdomen became tense as soon as our midwife touched the doppler to my belly. It wasn’t a terrible pain, but a discomfort. For the next few hours I was experiencing cramps and tension in my abdomen and on my sides. Sometimes it was barely noticeable and other times it was a sharp, shooting pain. I’m sure that my baby is fine and I’m not worried about one doppler checkup. I do worry about the women who receive the doppler every time they see their doctor or midwife, or worse, mamas who buy their own home doppler and use them every day or multiple times a day! From the sensations I got, I feel certain that it causes a lot of stress on the growing fetus. Certainly a mother may get used to the feelings and the baby may get used to them too, but the soundwaves stay the same and with every doppler check there is more of a chance that some damage may be done.

Most women see no problems with their children after using a fetal doppler regularly. I’m really uncertain about the potential risks involved. I have been unable to find many studies about the doppler, and there aren’t very many studies regarding the ultrasound either. This lack of information is disturbing, but that’s how things go in our society in this day and age. People are innocently and blindly consuming so many things without having a clue what they are made of or the potential risks involved. I deeply consider the things that I put in and around my body and don’t do things just because they are “convenient” or out of fear…

My body tells me everything that I need to know if I listen to it and look internally. Our beautiful baby is healthy and thriving. How do I know? I feel the baby kicking, punching, and turning itself around on a daily basis. And I feel fantastic! I have lots of energy. I eat local, whole foods regularly. I stay positive and peaceful. I believe that if a woman listens to herself, her intuition will tell her what she needs to do. I accept whatever comes our way and invite wellness and happiness into our lives.

For most, I see absolutely no reason to have doppler checks. After speaking with my midwife about the discomfort we had from the fetal doppler, she began using a stethoscope instead and that works perfectly well for us! I’m at 6 months right now and so far we have had the baby’s heartbeat checked twice – once by doppler and once by stethoscope. There is no need to hear the heartbeat all the time. Fear is senseless. I trust the baby is doing well and so it is.

Linked up at : Thank Goodness It’s Monday


Author: regrowroots

I am abundant love, joy, and healer.

3 thoughts on “Are Fetal Dopplers Really Safe?

  1. First off, kudos for listening to your instincts! It’s not always easy to do. It’s also wonderful that your midwife listened to your concerns and changed her approach to comfort you. All women are different, of course… I didn’t experience any of the discomfort you felt, though. So far my baby is just fine! (knock on wood) It would be nice if more research was done on the matter. Perhaps some women and/or babies are more sensitive to it than others.

    • I think you are definitely right. Every woman is different and we all have varying reactions towards things. I’m glad your baby is doing good! Nurture that baby’s creativity and treat yourself to the best environment and food.. I think those are some of the most crucial things in raising a healthy child. You’re doing great! 🙂

  2. Previous to my first fetal doppler, I had done some research on the safety of ultrasounds and decided that the benefits did not outweigh the risks and declined my 10 week ultrasound. However, I was not aware that doppler had the same risks, if not worse…I figured, hey it would be cool to hear the baby’s heartbeat…the procedure is roughly 30 seconds, what harm could it possibly do?

    To my dismay, I experienced sharp pains (cramping) exactly where the doctor had placed the fetal doppler. I reported this to my OBGYN on my next visit and they tried to tell me that the pain was the result of the doctor having applied pressure to get the reading. I found this excuse odd, because I felt absolutely no pressure applied at all during the procedure. That I know what pain feels like from pressure/bruising, and this was not what I felt…

    The sharp stabbing pains was my body and/or the baby telling me that it was adversely affected by doppler. So I did some digging on the web and sure enough I found out that fetal doppler uses continuous waves vs pulsed waves (ultrasound), which can be more powerful and can cause significant heating, especially in the baby’s developing brain.

    Needless to say, this was more than enough to alarm me. Moving forward, I will be declining all future fetal dopplers. I just don’t see how the benefits are worth the risks, especially when there are stethoscopes out there that can do the same thing.

    Bottom line is that there is not nearly enough research done on fetal dopplers and ultrasounds to convince me that they are “safe”.

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