Home Fetal Monitors- May Give a False Sense of Security

Expectant mothers perceiving a sudden decrease in fetal movements should not rely on fetal heart monitors at home to reassure themselves of their baby’s well-being according to Dr. Abhijoy Chakladar of Princess Royal Hospital in West Sussex, England.

Dr. Chakladar reports a case where a mother at 38 weeks, noticed a decrease in her baby’s movements, but was reassured by an apparent fetal heartbeat from her monitor. However, the device may have been detecting the mother’s heartbeat. A few days later, unable to hear the baby’s heartbeat, she went to the hospital where the fetus was discovered to be stillborn.

Abhijoy Chakladar and Hazel Adams Dangers of listening to the fetal heart at home BMJ 2009;339:b4308, doi: 10.1136/bmj.b4308 (Published 5 November 2009)

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