As technology improves, new ways are being sought out to enable patients to keep track of their health status. Lots of individuals employ the use of fitness and activity applications on their devices to monitor their weight changes and track their progress and statistics.
The aid of technology in healthcare cannot be understated: firstly, there is a significant reduction in potential errors that could occur due to human factors; secondly, it is cost-effective because of the introduction of remote monitoring of sub-clinical changes in health status and lastly; improved patient-provider interaction for efficient health management.
Another solution it proffers is teleconsultation, an online forum for patients to discuss their concerns with a physician and get immediate answers to their health questions and advice about an adequate health plan for them.
Benefits of Digital Health for Pregnant Women
Pregnancy is a phase of a woman’s life that involves bodily and behavioral changes, and the risk is higher for some than others. Those high-risk pregnancies would mostly benefit from continuous vigilant monitoring and early detection of complications that might emerge. But this might be a source of worry because it is common knowledge that access to fertility services in a health facility can be expensive.
A big part of the problem is that most health plans don’t cover fertility. So it is a big relief to many that these digital tools exist and are affordable and more tolerant.
Regardless, the field of digital women’s health has not always been given a lot of attention, as confirmed by the CEO and Co-Founder of BloomLife. His startup uses wearables to increase health engagement for new mothers. He says:
“Women’s health has historically been underfunded and overlooked. Although the period from conception through the first 1000 days of life is the most critical for lifelong health and development of a child, we are failing women and babies. We’re excited to be one of the many emerging companies addressing the needs of women during this life-changing moment.”
But in recent times, we have noticed a robust improvement in the creation of digital tools specific to women and assistive resources for those seeking fertility services outside of scheduled prenatal care visits. With more women taking up spaces in the tech sector, overseeing companies, and talking openly on these issues, there has been more visibility in forms of funding, media coverage, and research efforts.
Best Digital Health Solutions for Pregnant Women
Current technologies like remote health monitoring devices provide information, security, and confidence about the mother and child’s health condition. Data about the development of the fetus, nutrition, and complications can easily be provided as well as tips and alerts for preventive care, emergency-care, post-delivery support, and information about emerging risks. Smart and wearable sensors offer personalized prenatal care to pregnant women and can track changes in blood pressure of expecting mothers with hypertension. Some of these online platforms that provide digital health solutions for pregnant women include:
Babycentre is an online mobile application software based in San Francisco used by 400 million expectant parents. The app centers on the development of the baby throughout the full term of the pregnancy. It enlightens the user on highly informative content as well as intimate on the baby’s due delivery date, including daily and weekly tips. It also has a community where expecting parents can share their experiences through chat.
Bloomlife, a San Francisco women’s health company, is seeking to change the future of prenatal care for mothers by the design of their wearable. It observes the intensity of contractions in real-time and creates a history of changes throughout the term of the pregnancy. The device is worn in the evening before retiring to bed so that the exact heartbeat of the fetus is recorded and tracked. They plan to include more functionality in their wearable device and apply A.I. machine learning to improve their predictive biomarkers.
Sprout Pregnancy is an initiative of 1Sbreath; it helps expectant mothers easily manage their pregnancies by providing comprehensive information about the fetus. Its essential features are weight tracker, contraction time, and the kick counter.
Babyscripts, a digital instrument currently being used by clinics in the U.S., was developed by a Washington DC startup company. An OBGYN enrolls an expectant mother on the program, after which she receives the mobile app and “Mommy Kit” in her mail. The app consists of a schedule and a task list tailored to her needs; to guide her through nutrition, exercise, and other pregnancy-related patterns. The kit is connected to a device that measures blood pressure and weight and stores it in real-time in the user profile.
Maven Clinic is an online care platform whose goal is to affect women’s healthcare through affordability and better accessibility. Expectant mothers can book appointments or virtually connect with expert health practitioners for advice, insight, and prescriptions appropriate for pregnancy and other health issues. Maven has spread to tens of thousands of users since its launch in 2015 and has garnered a massive network of a thousand expert clinicians being booked successfully online.
My Pregnancy & Baby Today
My Pregnancy & Baby Today app helps prepare women during and after pregnancy with prenatal and parenting learning resources. The app educates the mothers on how to stay mentally and physically healthy. It also exposes the expectant mother to a network of other expecting mothers to socialize and connect. Features like time-lapse picture capability and a baby kick counter to measure the belly’s protrusion are also incorporated.
Researchkit by Apple is making significant advancement with how researchers enroll, obtain consent, collect data, and relate with participants. It is being used to get more insight into why some women experience Postpartum Depression by the genetic research study of several women in the world. Using wearable sensors, Artificial Intelligence algorithms, cloud computing, and smartphones, postpartum depression is detected early by monitoring the emotional state of a woman post-pregnancy.
Smart Pillbox, another smart wearable technology encourages expectant mothers to take prescribed medicines as at when due. It works by wirelessly syncing with the patient’s smartphone to provide daily reminders, take medication use, and help geo-locate a misplaced pillbox.
Flo, an AI-powered women health platform, is used to track the reproductive cycle and accurately predict monthly cycles. The app also renders personalized daily health insights, interactional surveys, and access to a network of thousands of experts and users around the world. It is number one on the “Health and Fitness” list in the U.S. app store.
Progyny based in New York seeks to improve fertility outcomes and reduce the time to pregnancy for families. Its mission is to be an industry leader in comprehensive and inclusive fertility. They focus on fertility benefit plans for aspiring parents through clinical and emotional guidance, science, data, and technology. The progyny benefit is designed to cover couples, single parents by choice, LGBTQ+ individuals who want kids.The role of digital health tools in fertility is education for the consumer and enhanced insights for clinicians. In conclusion, Dr. Brian Levine, a reproductive endocrinologist and practice director of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine in New York said:
“Anyone looking to embark on a fertility journey should ask as many questions as possible, about statistics and treatment protocols, then use the apps or tools as a complement. Additionally, for consumers, just because apps or trackers are widely available, expectations for success still need to be managed“.