Warning over home doppler machines
Christmas shoppers have been warned not to buy home doppler machines, which are sold with a view to enable pregnant women to check their baby’s heartbeat.
Campaigners said the devices offer false reassurance and should be banned.
The charity Kicks Count, which encourages women to keep a close check on baby movements, said the hand-held devices are not appropriate presents for loved ones this Christmas.
Chief executive Elizabeth Hutton said: “With Christmas coming, we are urging people not to buy home dopplers for their loved ones as gifts.
“They are not designed to be used as a fun novelty product but should be used only by professional medical staff.
“In the wrong hands they can provide false reassurance – the placenta, and the mother’s heartbeat can both easily be mistaken for a foetal heartbeat leading to tragic consequences.”
Home dopplers are available to buy for around £30, while phone apps also claim to monitor an unborn baby’s heartbeat.
Kicks Count is calling on the Government to ban home dopplers, and a petition on the issue has so far attracted more than 13,500 signatures.
Blogger Gemma Brushneen, 31, from Wiltshire, is also backing the campaign.
She lost her baby Sophie at 24 weeks after being falsely reassured by a home doppler device.
She said: “My message to other mums is that these should not be treated as a bit of fun.
“Don’t buy these devices and please don’t rely on them to check your baby’s health.”
Gemma Brushneen with her husband Elliott, 30, and children Izzie, 7, Mason, 2, and Ollie, 4.