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Pregnancy / Newborn .. what would you like to be able to monitor?

(7 Posts)
MayfairMummy Fri 19-Aug-11 11:12:52

DP is currently doing a project on monitoring health etc of pregnant women, and probably newborns... I'm trying to compile a list of all the things that would be really nice to know without having to visit the doctor (eg blood pressure), or do the fiddly stuff like writing down how often/long your contractions are (24 hour labour anyone else?). It doesn't matter if these things don't exist (yet), but I'd love help on knowing what you'd like to monitor... some of my personal favourites would be..

- built in contraction monitoring on my tens machine
- automatic weight tracking as my pregnancy progresses (preferably while getting a seated massage grin
- fetal heartrate monitoring from early on so I don't have to convince the midwife that i'm not 4 weeks out on my dates, and therefore should expect a heartrate.
- blood pressure monitoring so when the ambulance man tells me i'm not in blood loss shock, it's just a panic attack, I can point out my heartrate is only 60/36.

Anything you'd like to know? For babies too, please :-)

benne81 Fri 19-Aug-11 14:38:20

Sorry but all sounds a bit dangerous to my ears (but maybe I'm reading it wrong).

I don't really think that self monitoring of things like BP/fetal heart rate/ contractions on TENS machione would be that useful. I think it would just raise anxiety levels in women and lead to more visits to midwife/ GP.

Lots of these things need a certain degree of knowledge and understanding to be able to assess if people should be concerned and I would be worried about people not being able to identify when they should get help and be falsely reassured.

A definite no to the automatic weight tracking!!!

CBear6 Fri 19-Aug-11 15:14:49

I'm with Benne. While self-monitoring can be a good thing in the right circumstances, when it comes to pregnancy and newborn health I'd rather have a professional opinion. Yes, I'd rely on my own intuition too and if thought the professional was wrong I'd push the issue but in the large part I don't have medical training and so wouldn't feel comfortable assessing certain things.

If such products were for fun then fair enough. The best example I can think of is home dopplers/fetal monitors. They're fun for a bit of bonding, especially in the days before movements can be felt, but they shouldn't ever be used in place of proper medical advice. Thankfully the cases are few and far between but there have been instances of women using their home kit (what is basically nothing more than a toy), hearing the baby or what they think is the baby, and classing everything as fine when it's actually not.

I think access to better/more thorough ante-natal and post-natal care is the answer. My MW runs a first come, first served drop in centre for ante/post natal queries, worries, etc and I think it's something all areas should operate because it means women can access a MW whenever they need to.

MayfairMummy Sat 20-Aug-11 08:30:47

Sorry... maybe I should have been clearer. This isn't supposed to replace dr/midwife visits in any way, they're in addition. Also, the idea is that most of these wirelessly/remotely connect to your medical records which, if you choose/if necessary, can be monitored by a dr or midwife on a 24 hour service...

Having said that, I got sick of monitoring my contractions so that i could ring the homebirth midwife when they were closer than 5 mins, and would have loved a machine that did it. I had a tens strapped on anyway.

Having also had several miscarriages, I also like the reassurance of being able to hear the heartbeat. I doubt my midwife would be happy for me to drop in twice weekly just to hear that... I'm now under the care of St Mary's RMU, which does give you a lot more early care (that is, scans), but until you've had at least 3 miscarriages, that's either just a wish or an expensive reassurance (particularly when, like me there's nothing identifiable 'wrong').

Then there's the challenge of high blood pressure in pregnancy - did you know that you can actually learn to control your blood pressure (a bit) when it's high, through relaxation techniques, etc. And I don't really want to pass on all the increased health risks to my children through my excess weight gain in pregnancy... personally, I'm actually curious to know that I'm in the appropriate weight gain range... (even if i don't tell people what that is grin )

Cattleprod Sat 20-Aug-11 09:45:21

What I'd like isn't going to be possible for a very long time, if at all. It would be an all-in-one monitor, with a 100% safety and accuracy rate, maybe like a nicotine patch that you stick on yourself when you start ttc and leave on for the whole pregnancy. It would tell you, via a programme on your computer or phone app...

When you ovulate
If you have conceived
Where in the womb the embryo has implanted
Singleton or twins, triplets etc.
When heartbeat starts
If embryo becomes unviable - with links to a counselling service and information about mc
Nuchal measurement
Any evidence of abnormalities - with information about type of abnormality, whether treatable or not, and counselling service
Maternal blood pressure, iron levels, other blood related information
Any problems such as GD, OC, SPD etc indicated at offset so treatment can commence and conditions aren't missed and left to develop
Amniotic fluid levels, health of cord and placenta
Baby heartrate and movements - problems notified immediately so mothers don't have to worry about counting kicks, dopplers etc.
Accurate due date
Baby size and weight and position
Sex (this option can be turned off)
Dilation of cervix
Timing of contractions

It would notify HPs immediately of any problems so you could access treatment straight away.

It would also come with a hand held probe so that you could scan foods you were about to eat to detect listeria etc.

Don't want much do I?!! grin

MayfairMummy Sat 20-Aug-11 14:35:34

I like it... but can I have mine in the form of a specially designed massage chair that I relax in frequently 'just to check the baby is ok smile '

MummyAbroad Sat 20-Aug-11 16:28:52

Love Cattleprod's machine - I think she covers it all.

I came on to say iron levels and cervical length measurements (for IC), but her all in one machine sounds much better.smile I guess we could add detected molar pregnancies to its list of wonders too, and if detected then constant monitoring of HCG levels. In fact HCG monitoring for the first 8 weeks would be nice anyway, and how about checking mid cycle uterine lining measurements and post ovulation progesterone levels while we are at it?

As someone who has had to struggle to get doctors to take me seriously in with what turned out to be very serious conditions, I think the idea of a machine that can give you more "evidence" would be great. Of course in an ideal world we would never need this machine because all doctors and midwives would be super competent, and provide fantastic health care all the time, but unfortunately in the real world, stuff gets overlooked and something like this could really help, especially if you have already been alerted to a possible complication by your doctor and it needs to be monitored.

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