This wearable for pregnant moms is an easy contraction tracker
Was that a contraction or not? This wearable can tell the difference.
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The final months of a pregnancy are incredibly stressful. When you know baby could arrive at any moment, life grinds to a halt every time mom feels discomfort, nevermind if she experiences something like false labor pains or Braxton Hicks contractions.
My wife gave birth in April and the week leading up to our daughter arriving were filled with false labor pains, back pain, Braxton Hicks, and confusing changes that left us constantly wondering if our baby was about to arrive. Bloomlife, a relatively new startup, is trying to alleviate that stress with a simple, lightweight wearable.
Though it uses a different kind of technology, the Bloomlife tracker outputs a timeline that looks similar to the cardiotocography (also known as CTG or TOCO) sensors they use in hospitals. The rechargeable sensor has a 7-day battery life and attaches to your belly with an adhesive patch.
The Bloomlife wearable passively collects information on whether you're having a contraction or not and uploads it to your smartphone automatically via Bluetooth. The app then organizes all the data and tracks your contractions for you, including duration, the interval between them, and historical trends.
For now, the primary use case is to track contractions. For a variety of technical and regulatory reasons, the tracker can't offer any real insights on things like fetal movement, fetal heartrate, or predict when labor is actually going to happen. But because contractions are muscle movements, Bloomlife doesn't have to get full FDA approval the way that other medical devices do.
Eventually, with enough data and clinical studies backing its efficacy, Bloomlife could be used throughout pregnancy to help make sure your baby is doing what it is supposed to be doing. If it could eventually track fetal movement, for example, it could give you a heads up if the baby hasn't moved in awhile and prompt you to stimulate some movement to make sure everything is fine.
But even with its present use limited to contraction timing, it could still be a real lifesaver. With my daughter's birth I was the dedicated contraction tracker and, I have to admit, I failed miserably. Using a basic contraction tracking app, I had to manually hit start and stop every time my wife let me know she was having a contraction. When your pregnant wife is in pain, making sure to open your smartphone is pretty much the last thing on your mind.
And if my wife didn't (or couldn't) let me know right away when the contraction was starting and stopping, I wouldn't get an accurate count. Also, if I had to go grab an ice pack or a heating pad, I might forget to turn the timer off and a two-minute contraction would suddenly become four or five minutes.
There are a couple of other issues with Bloomlife. The first thing I noticed was the adhesive patch, which Bloomlife claims is gentle on pregnant skin but could still be a nuisance, especially for moms suffering with a PUPPS/PEC rash. The other is the cost; it's $150 to rent the Bloomlife for a month.
It's a steep price, though the duration shouldn't be too much of a problem given that it's going to be most useful during the final weeks of pregnancy. Either way, for moms in search of a little peace of mind during an incredibly stressful time, this little tracker could be worth the money.