How It Works
The tracking or tracing of the baby’s heart rate as well as the mom’s has been common in the United States and across Europe for almost fifty years. Ultrasound and Toco technology is traditionally used for monitoring fetal heart rate and uterine contractions. These external systems require significant nurse intervention to obtain reliable readings during labor due to several factors, most notably sensors that easily slip when mother or baby moves. Difficulties with external monitoring are compounded for obese patients (BMI>30), when ultrasound detection of the fetal heart rate degrades and Toco sensors have difficulty detecting uterine tension through layers of adipose, resulting in an increased need for invasive fetal monitoring.
LaborView is an external fetal monitoring system that uses a wireless electrode array to capture the fetal heart rate and uterine contraction data on laboring women. The LaborView wireless electrode array works on mothers regardless of BMI, due to its superior digital signal processing technology. Placed once on the maternal abdomen, the system is designed to stay in place and monitor fetal and maternal heart rates and contractions throughout labor for mothers of all sizes.
Electrodes almost identical to those used for standard EKG measurements for heart patients are placed on the skin surface and record all transmitted electrical activity, including the maternal EKG, maternal skeletal muscle, uterine muscle, fetal skeletal muscle, and fetal EKG. OBMedical technology accurately extracts maternal EKG, heart rate, uterine activity (described below), and fetal heart rate using state-of-the-art signal processing for automatically estimating the fetal and maternal heart rate, and contraction information and a specially designed electrode sensor array to provide accurate positioning and repeatability in extracting high quality maternal-fetal signals.
It is well-established that uterine contractions are the result of the coordinated actions of individual myometrial cells. At the cellular level, the contractions are triggered by a voltage signal called an action potential. During pregnancy, cellular electrical connectivity increases such that the action potential propagates to produce a coordinated contraction involving the entire uterus. The action potential during a uterine contraction can be measured with the same abdominal electrodes. The OBMedical technology converts electrical muscle activity captured by the electrodes into signals that provide uterine activity data to a maternal-fetal monitor.