Although medical science continues to advance in leaps and bounds, there are still a large number of birth injuries in the UK every year. In this article, we’re going to be looking at five technologies that are enabling safer child births.
In 2022, we have access to medical science and facilities that our ancestors could only dream of and procedures such as childbirth are safer than ever before.
In a lot of cases, treatment exists but is simply too expensive for a lot of healthcare facilities, particularly those in less developed regions and countries. So how are some technologies enabling safer child births? Keep reading to find out…
1. Bubble CPAP
One of the most common birth injuries occurs when a new baby has respiratory or breathing problems. If not detected and treated quickly, these injuries can lead to brain damage and even death if a baby is deprived of oxygen for a significant amount of time.
For some time, doctors in developed countries have used CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) machines to treat breathing issues. However, many medical facilities do not have the budget for these extremely expensive machines.
In recent times, students at Rice University have developed the Pumani bCPAP – a machine which performs the same function as the CPAP and with the same effectiveness, but at just a fraction of the cost. It’s estimated that this technology will triple the survival rate of babies with respiratory problems.
Preeclampsia is a blood pressure disorder which can be extremely dangerous for both mother and baby. This condition usually occurs in the second half of a pregnancy, or shortly after birth, and should be identified quickly. Approximately 1000 babies die every year due to complications related to pre-eclampsia.
Traditionally, blood pressure cuffs have been used to monitor blood pressure, but these are not always effective. In a lot of cases, these blood pressure cuffs are simply ineffective and they can be complex and difficult to read, resulting in dangerous errors.
New start-up, Biospectal, has introduced the OptiBP which quickly and accurately measures blood pressure through a fingertip device connected to a Smartphone app.
While we tend to associate jaundice with adults, this can also affect new borns. Jaundice occurs when the skin and/or the whites of the eyes take on a yellow hue, this can be an indication of a serious health condition such as liver disease.
If left untreated, it can lead to brain damage and, in some extreme cases, death. Diagnostic equipment for jaundice in babies can be extremely expensive and beyond reach for many hospitals. In response, innovators at Rice University have developed a battery powered handheld device, BiliSpec, which uses a paper strip which costs just $0.05 and is able to diagnose jaundice in two minutes or less.
This extremely affordable treatment is set to be a game changer for hospitals and midwives in even the poorest of countries.
Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) affects thousands of women every year and is responsible for around 100,000 deaths. This is a serious condition which causes excessive bleeding for the mother during and after giving birth.
While this can be treated, the necessary equipment is not cheap, however, that may be set to change with Shift Lab’s new innovation, DripAssist. This clever invention is low cost and consists of a battery powered device which continuously monitors the flow of medicine through an IV drip and sounds an alarm in the event of a fluctuation.
This game changing device not only saves lives, but it also saves money as well as freeing up staff to perform other, possibly more urgent, tasks.
One in every 250 births in the UK is, unfortunately, a stillbirth. However, many more babies are born not-breathing and it’s not uncommon for this to be misdiagnosed as a stillbirth. Something which is an absolute tragedy as, in many cases, the baby can actually be resuscitated.
Until recently, this has very much been a gap in neonatal care, but researchers have now introduced the NeoBeat. This inexpensive and innovative device takes the form of a tiny belt which can be attached to a baby in seconds.
The device will then provide a constant digital display of the baby’s heart rate, giving non-breathing babies a much higher chance of survival.
Low-cost life saving for all is needed…
Around 681,560 live babies are born every year in the UK, but there are still a high number of stillbirths and many more babies and mothers which suffer from a variety of life-threatening conditions. Tackling these conditions to reduce birth injuries is a top priority for the healthcare industry but can often feel like a losing battle.
The innovations listed in this article are just some of the ways in which technology is being used to quickly identify and treat a number of birth-related conditions for both mother and baby. As well as giving a lifeline to many hospitals and clinics, these devices are, importantly, also low cost – meaning that even healthcare facilities in more underdeveloped countries are able to gain access to these lifesaving technologies.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.