[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 23 April 2007, 20:06 GMT 21:06 UK
Device could reduce stillbirths
The monitoring equipment
The equipment is about the same size as a mobile phone
A mobile-telephone sized device used to monitor an unborn baby's heart has been developed by scientists in Nottingham.

It is aimed at women with conditions like diabetes, or in instances where foetuses are at risk of a lack of oxygen due to an unhealthy placenta.

The equipment is designed to be used at home, preventing the need for a trip to hospital for an ultrasound scan.

Trials at Nottingham University are expected to be completed by July.

The monitor, which is expected to go on sale in October, has been developed by medical experts at the university, together with Monica Healthcare Ltd.

Baby's heartbeat

Currently hospital-based ultrasound equipment is used to monitor pregnancies where there is a risk of stillbirth, but this equipment can only by used by trained professionals.

The device can be used from about the 20th week of pregnancy onwards and involves logging the baby's heartbeat via electrodes attached to tabs on the mother's stomach, usually while she sleeps at night.

She then gives the recorded information to doctors for them to analyse.

Dr Margaret Ramsay, on the research team, said: "For all these foetuses, the more we can monitor them, the greater the chance of us detecting that they are running into difficulties before it is too late to help them."

Statistics show that as many as 10 babies a day are stillborn in the UK and about one in 10 of all pregnancies are high risk.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific