Checking the heartbeat of babies in the womb is set to become more accurate for expectant mothers thanks to research.

 

Dr Elizabeth Rendon-Morales of the University of Sussex says they have developed a much more effective sensor to measure a baby's heartbeat  - without needing to visit a hospital.

 

According to the research, it could help detect heart-related congenital disorders during pregnancy or highlight the need for medical interventions due to complications such as premature delivery or umbilical cord compression.

 

Dr Rendon-Morales, a Lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Sussex, said: "Currently expectant mothers with health concerns about their babies have to go through the stress of going to hospital to check on the heartbeat of their child. With this new technology, they will be able to do this from the comfort of their own home, which will be much better for the welfare of mother and baby."

 

She also explained that the new technology would also greatly benefit women experiencing high-risk pregnancy factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, pre-eclampsia and gestational high blood pressure, who require regular monitoring to ensure the wellbeing of their baby.

 

This is a significant development; the research is the first significant update in the technology used to measure babies' heart rates for 40 years and moves away from the existing use of silver chloride electrodes, researchers added. 

 

"This technology is a step forward for home-based medical devices, benefiting not only health service providers through resource optimisation, but also expectant mothers who are experiencing a very exciting, but sometimes stressful, moment in their lives. This technology will give peace of mind in providing answers very quickly and ultimately ensuring the baby's wellbeing."

 

The University of Sussex tool differs in that they have developed an electrometer-based amplifier prototype using Electric Potential Sensing (EPS) technology, which allows for in utero foetal electrocardiogram monitoring by just placing the device on top of the skin of the pregnant mother's abdomen in a non-invasive way.

 

 "This technology is a step forward for home-based medical devices, benefiting not only health service providers through resource optimisation, but also expectant mothers who are experiencing a very exciting, but sometimes stressful, moment in their lives. This technology will give peace of mind in providing answers very quickly and ultimately ensuring the baby's wellbeing."

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