Exploring whether continuous monitoring in pregnancy using ‘smart wearable technology’ can be used to identify risk of stillbirth.

Ketut Subiyanto

This study aims to further our understanding of why some babies are stillborn and help us identify new tests that we can offer people in pregnancy to identify babies that might be at risk. Every year, around the world, more than two million babies are stillborn and in many of these cases no clear cause is identified. Our current monitoring looks at mums and babies health using blood tests, blood pressure and ultrasound intermittently but we know this does not provide a complete picture. 

Remote monitoring through wearable devices is a rapidly advancing field of technology. These devices can now collect continuous signals like heart rate throughout the day or track movements during sleep. We want to explore whether more continuous monitoring in pregnancy using ‘smart wearables’ could be used to identify those pregnancies at risk of stillbirth. These devices would be tracking you not your baby.

To do this we need to collect information on what these signals look like in both normal and complicated pregnancies. The SIMPREG study is going to focus on measures of the heart as we have very reliable measures that we can do in the clinic, meaning we can validate the information collected from the wearables. 

This study is recruiting women between 34-41 weeks of pregnancy who are pregnant with one baby.

You will be invited to attend the Clinical Research Facility at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for 2 or 3 study visits, each spaced a fortnight apart.

Measurements at these visits will include your height, weight and other non-invasive measurements including assessment of your heart and placenta by ultrasound and measurement of the 'stiffness' of your blood vessels. It will take around an hour to collect all these measurements.

You will then be given 2 small wearable devices  (a wrist strap and chest strap) to wear continuously at home between study visits. You will also be asked to measure your blood pressure at home twice per day.

At around 36 weeks of your pregnancy, we will ask if we can take a blood sample.