A sensor-patched strap could help detect pregnancy complications and keep mothers-to-be in close contact with their foetus via a smartphone. Amy Pollock reports.
Pregnancy can be a worrying time for mothers-to-be. But Israeli medical experts say they have developed a revolutionary wearable monitoring device to allay their fears The PregSense monitor collects data on the health of the mother and foetus, transmitting it to a smartphone via bluetooth. Michal - 32 weeks into her pregnancy - is reassured by the mobile monitor. (SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) WOMAN IN WEEK 32 OF HER PREGNANCY, MICHAL, SAYING: "It connects me a lot more with the foetus, I'll hear the foetus whenever I want and it will be easier for me. I also won't have to be dependent on a doctor, at any given time I'll be able to connect, to see and hear". Tel Aviv-based Nuvo Group say their monitor will allow doctors to respond to complications in pregnancy far sooner. Doctor Varda Shalev advises the Nuvo Group board. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MEDICAL INFORMATICS EXPERT, DIRECTOR OF MACCABITECH, AN ACTIVE PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN AND NUVO-GROUP'S ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER PROFESSOR, VARDA SHALEV, SAYING: "It's the first time that you have a huge amount of data of women and babies together about heart rate, kickings, position for foetus etc and we will be able to analyze this data to predict about events of pregnancy, like preterm labour like pre-eclampsia and more and we will be able to intervene in the right time" Women experiencing difficulties in late pregnancy are usually monitored in hospital using ultrasonic doppler devices. But the PregSense developers say they will no longer be tied to one place. Oren Oz is Nuvo's chief executive. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND FOUNDER OF NUVO-GROUP, OREN OZ, SAYING: "The immediate impact, the immediate benefit to doctors is that we are replacing the bulky CTG machines which are heavy and connected to the wall with the light weight mobility and continuous monitoring." Nuvo says the sensors woven into the elastic harness are safer than ultrasound scans, which can cause tissue damage. The consumer version of the device costs $250 and is due for launch at the end of the year. Once its clinical model is available, Nuvo says pregnancy care will be transformed.