New fetal heart monitor can help to save the lives of fetuses in complicated pregnancies. The report about this device was published in International Journal of Engineering Systems Modelling and Simulation. In cases of complicated pregnancies that result in premature birth, miscarriage, fetal growth cessation and stillbirth, problems do not usually happen suddenly but develop over a certain period of time. Regular ultrasound monitoring of fetal growth can help identify some problems, but too frequent ultrasound monitoring of a mother and her fetus involves its own health risks.
Moreover, it cannot constantly track fetal heart rate. A.K. Mittra from the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Gondia, India, and his colleagues have developed a simple two-microphone device that can assess fetal heart rate during the mother’s rest or sleep. The device can also alert of fetal heart rate problems.
The first microphone is attached to the mother’s belly to receive the sound of the fetus’s heartbeat. The second one is placed at some distance to receive ambient and bodily sounds. Computer software can then “subtract” the “ambient noise channel” from the “fetal channel” to create a wav file. This file can be further analyzed for medical anomalies. Once a problem is detected, the software can compress the wav file to the mp3 file format for quick upload via the Internet to the physician’s computer. The system can also give a gentle signal of alert to the mother, implying she should see her physician.
The research team has already tried their monitor on several women at various stages of pregnancy. Scientists point out that the devise is absolutely passive and in no way can affect pregnancy course. It is also important that this system is inexpensive. It requires, however, both the mother and her physician having a personal computer with the Internet access.
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