Maternal health includes health during pregnancy and childbirth. Each stage during pregnancy should be a positive experience, ensuring that women and their babies reach their full potential in health and well-being. However, this cannot always be achieved. According to UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), approximately 800 women die every day from avoidable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, so it is important to monitor mother and fetal health throughout the pregnancy. Many wearable sensors and devices have been developed to monitor both fetal and the mother’s health and physical activities and reduce risk during pregnancy. Some wearables monitor fetal ECG or heart rate and movement, while others focus on the mother’s health and physical activities.
This study presents a systematic review of these analyses. Twelve scientific articles were reviewed to address three research questions oriented to (1) sensors and method of data acquisition; (2) processing methods of the acquired data; and (3) detection of the activities or movements of the fetus or the mother.
According to the research results, this study explores the potential of sensors in efficiently overseeing the health of both mother and fetus throughout pregnancy. Enhancing the precision, conducting trials in real-world scenarios, improving the user comfort of wearable sensors, and ensuring continual, long-term monitoring all necessitate further advancements in wearable sensor technology. Overcoming these obstacles could significantly aid in decreasing mortality rates associated with pregnancy complications and maternal health concerns.
The researchers noted that the majority of wearable sensors were utilized within controlled settings. They suggest that more extensive testing in real-life conditions and continuous monitoring are imperative before advocating for widespread adoption of these sensors.
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