For as beautiful as pregnancy is, it can also be nerve-wracking. So when I found out I was pregnant with my youngest child, I asked my doctor if it was safe for me to use an at-home doppler. She told me they were safe, but that she advised her patients to leave all the monitoring up to the professionals. They can be hard to use and can make you lose your mind. Did I listen? Of course not. I should have, though, because my at-home doppler actually made my anxiety worse.
I had never even considered using a home doppler during either of my previous pregnancies. I didn't even know they existed, but my husband had used one when his ex-wife was pregnant, and said it had given him a lot of peace of mind. So when a friend offered to lend me hers for the duration of my pregnancy, I took her up on her offer. I imagined sweetly snuggling next to my husband, the two of us listening to our baby's heartbeat and letting our older kids hear their younger brother or sister.
Like so many other things in life, though, reality was nothing like my fantasy. First I tried to find my son's heartbeat way too early and totally freaked out when I couldn't hear anything. It turned out that I had an anterior placenta, which made it hard for even professionals to find his tiny heartbeat. You would think that knowledge would make me put down the doppler wand and back away, but no. Instead I tried to listen to baby all the time. It became somewhat of an obsession of mine, with me trying and failing and then promising myself that I would wait another day to try again. More than once I ended up sobbing, feeling a relentless flood of anxiety and panic when I wasn't successful. I totally should have known better, I absolutely should have listened to my midwife, and I honestly regret it.
So if you're thinking about borrowing or purchasing an at-home doppler, I highly encourage you to speak to a professional and weigh the pros and cons. If nothing else, at least read my story and learn how an at-home doppler can actually make your anxiety worse: