In 2015, one in 10 babies were born prematurely, and while that might not seem like a lot, premature births can be dangerous and devastating. To be labeled premature, a baby must be born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, which means they miss out on the most important time to grow in the womb, often creating setbacks in their development or resulting in physical problems like breathing, hearing and vision complications.
What if there was a way to predict contractions, effectively warning mothers and doctors alike that their pregnancy was ending earlier than expected? Turns out that technology isn't too far out of our reach.
The SMART Diaphragm is still being researched, but it holds great potential for decreasing the statistics of pre-term births. The size of a contraception diaphragm, the device fits over the cervix and is smartphone-enabled, making it usable at home and accessible through wifi and an information "cloud." Women will potentially be able to track their pregnancy from home, in addition to scheduled visits to their physicians.
So how does it predict when a woman will give birth?
"Before delivery can happen, the cervix must soften and become an elastic gateway that can stretch enough to allow delivery," the study writes. "This happens through a decrease in collagen and increase in water in the cervix. These changes happen several weeks before birth, but do not cause symptoms and cannot be seen. The SMART diaphragm monitors the amount of collagen in the cervix and and detects the 'invisible' changes that happen in the cervix preceding birth."
The final product will be designed so that the woman can place the SMART Diaphragm herself.
What do you think? Would you invest in a product like the SMART Diaphragm if you could prevent your child being born prematurely?
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