Adequate fetal movements are undeniably vital signs that the baby is healthy, the absence of which can be the basis for seeking medical help for caregivers. However, continuous monitoring of the baby’s movement for picking up the right cues poses considerable challenge for mothers outside of hospital settings. With monitoring being increasingly crucial in high-risk pregnancies, the existing technologies for monitoring such fetal movements are largely based on accelerometers that are unreliable for distinguishing mother’s movement with that her baby. This may soon change, thanks to a recent product development by a team of researchers from different departments in Imperial College London, U.K. The efforts were collaborated by a technology from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London.
The researchers engineered a system based on a combination of accelerometer and sensor than can be worn by an expectant mother for a prolonged period of time to potentially track the baby’s movement. The findings are published in a peer-reviewed open access journal PLOS One.
System could differentiate between Expectant Mother’s Movements with that of Baby
The team of researchers at Imperial College London are seeking ways that inadequate fetal movements can affect the development of hip dysplasia, one of the most common causes of hip arthritis. To this end, they tracked the fetal movement of an expectant mother throughout a pregnancy. The system equipped with an acoustic sensor is especially effective in tracking the movement of the mother, which wasn’t possible with earlier technologies. The researchers observed that the system developed was efficacious enough to detect rapid fetal movements and even fared well when compared to ultrasounds being done simultaneously for the testing.
Product might see Widespread Commercialization in a Decade
The technology has been patented and, going down the line over the next 10 years, the developers hope to commercialize them. All they would need are some technological improvements and few clinical trials. This may lead pave way to breakthrough in current gold standard in point-of-care settings for monitoring technologies in high risk pregnancies, opines one of the researchers.