It's no surprise that millennial mothers are eager to get their hands on the newest gadget that tracks the progress of their unborn babies. But this isn't an innocent baby growth app, in fact, it's much more dangerous if used improperly and could seriously harm an unborn baby.
One of the latest trends in pregnancy monitoring are at-home fetal heart-rate monitoring systems. A new gadget that allows you to actually listen to your baby's heartbeat AND take a more hands-on approach to prenatal care? That has millennial written all over it.
Unfortunately, so do the risks. In an effort to take control, millennial mothers run the risk of making a dangerous, uneducated, decision about their baby's health.
Find out what the risks are on the next page:
Although at-home fetal dopplers are marketed as a "helpful safety measure," mothers who don't know exactly what they're listening for run the risk of making a seriously bad call when it comes to their baby's heart health.
CEO of stillbirth charity Kicks Count, Elizabeth Hutton, tells PopSugar, "Midwives and doctors train for many years to interpret what they hear through a doppler." "It is a medical device, not an object to be used for entertainment."
There are two ways mothers can make critical errors in judgement with fetal dopplers:
1. Mother does not detect a heartbeat: assumes something bad has happened, when everything is actually fine.
While you might assume that it's better safe than sorry, but if you don't know how to properly use the device, it's likely that you won't hear a heartbeat, or interpret correctly what you're actually hearing as the heartbeat.
Not hearing a heartbeat doesn't necessarily mean that there isn't one. But needless stress "can lead to raised blood pressure in the mother and premature births," says Hutton.
2. Mother hears a heartbeat, assumes everything is fine - when it is not.
Hutton explains that the placenta and the mother's heartbeat can both be mistaken for a fetal heartbeat. If a mother doesn't know what she's doing, "it is more likely that blood flow through the placenta or the maternal aorta will be heard."
Essentially, while the monitors are pretty much harmless themselves, in untrained hands, the wrong interpretation could very likely put your baby at risk.