One of the first signs of fetal wellbeing is mother's perception of movements. Currently women are told to report any abnormalities in fetal movement with a quantified number stated as less than 10 felt kicks/rolls per day. However, the minimum activity is highly dependent on an individual pregnancy case, and one of the greatest challenges is defining what is normal when it comes to fetal activity.
Bumpe proposes a safe, at home and reliable answer to current products that can be also used after the child is born. It is a remote system that assists with the tracking of fetal movements during pregnancy. Its developed passive sensing technology allows for continuous monitoring outside of a hospital and can be safely used from the third trimester. Also, Bumpe is there for you to assist and bring reassurance after the birth of your baby. The sensors gather data over the course of your baby's development. They provide information about the infant's breathing patterns and sleep cycles. The system consists of a wearable device, base station and assistive App.
Bumpe was designed in conjunction with health care professionals and in compliance with early-stage health assessment guidance.
Agata Guz -Designer
App to use during pregnancy
And after a child's birth
To ensure the project's feasibility, the passive sensing technology was tested in the scenario
The design process involved thorough prototyping and testing
One of the first signs of fetal well-being is mother’s perception of movements. However, each pregnancy is different. Adding to this subjectivity of fetal movement perception, the responsibility put on a mother and constant need to pay attention causes high levels of distress.
If a woman is beyond 24 weeks gestation and RFM occurs, she would be referred for an examination to assess fetal health. At a Day Assessment Unit, auscultation of the baby’s heartbeat would be performed and pregnancy history collected. If the woman presents with a subsequent episode of RFM, further examination would be performed. This could include Cardiotoguraphy or Ultrasound Scans. Not being able to perform this sort of test at home means that pregnant women have to travel from work/home and often queue for a long time before they are able to access help.
Current hospital diagnostic devices used for Antenatal Examination are based on Ultrasound Scan. This procedure uses high-frequency sound waves to obtain information about fetal well-being. The intensity and duration of sound waves used for scanning are not enough to cause any harm to a fetus. On the other hand, the same technology is incorporated into a Hand-Held Fetal Doppler—the only device currently available on the market that allows for home fetal health ‘assessment’. This raises many issues, as when not supervised, Ultrasounds can provide harmful and misleading feedback.
Currently, there are no devices on the market that would allow for safe movement monitoring at home. This project aims to bring reassurance and guidance outside of hospital environments during early stages of parenthood. The proposed remote system enables parents to facilitate the process of fetal movement tracking during the third pregnancy trimester, and unlike the current products on the market, repurpose the same technology to reassure the parents after the baby is born.
After gaining initial literature insight into the problem, a research plan was created to understand end users and other stake holders involved. This included contacting pregnant couples and parents with children aged 0-2 and organizing individual interviews. To understand the safety and propose a non-invasive solution, two midwives were present throughout the design process. This helped with gathering insights that allowed for framing correct product design specifications in order to perform fetal health tracking and to keep it a low risk.
Through thorough prototyping, testing and signal filtering, a working prototype that allows for fetal signal sensing and maternal movement distinguishing were produced. It was important to focus not only on the technological development but combine it with the parallel user research and human factors in consideration to design a system that would be desired by the user.
The technology developed can be used not only for fetal movement tracking but also for breath, sleep and activity monitoring after the child is born. Extending the product’s life cycle means that parents that would normally seek to purchase a baby monitor can continue to use the same, familiar product.