Paper on new type of fetal movement monitor published

Niamh’s paper on a new type of fetal movement monitor has been published in PLoS One. You can read the paper here. The work was a collaboration with Dr Ravi Vaidyanathan from Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College, and Mr Christoph Lees (Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery & Cancer, Imperial College London), together with other engineering and clinical colleagues.

Fetal movements are an important sign of the health of the baby, but there is currently no objective way to measure the frequency or type of movements outside of a hospital.  A wearable and non-transmitting system capable of sensing fetal movements over extended periods of time would be extremely valuable, not only for monitoring individual fetal health, but also for establishing normal levels of movement in the population at large. In this paper, we introduce a new wearable system based on a novel combination of accelerometers and bespoke acoustic sensors as well as an advanced signal processing architecture to identify and discriminate between types of fetal movements. We validate the system with concurrent ultrasound tests and demonstrate that the garment is capable of both detecting and discriminating the vigorous, whole-body ‘startle’ movements of a fetus. Ongoing work aims to increase the accuracy and specificity of the sensor, bringing us closer to future clinical trials of the device.

The work was featured on the Imperial College website.

Perren Award paper on link between hip dysplasia and fetal movements published

Stefaan’s final and Perren Award winning paper from his postdoc in the Developmental Biomechanics has been published online in the Journal of Biomechanics. In the paper, the effects of different risk factors for hip dysplasia (such as fetal breech position, first born babies and oligohydramnios (reduced amniotic fluid)) on fetal kicks and the stresses and strains in their hip joints are quantified. Kick force, stress and strain were found to be significantly lower in cases of breech position and oligohydramnios. Similarly, firstborn fetuses were found to generate significantly lower kick forces than non-firstborns.