Complication of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of death among women and newborns in developing countries. Poor maternal care is in fact the fourth leading cause of maternal and neonatal mortality worldwide, after HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Our research set out to develop an Android based digital fetoscope, an application that would ease fetal heart monitoring and potentially reduce the number of neonatal deaths. During late pregnancy and labor, health care providers may recommend monitoring the fetal heart rate and this is very important in assessing the well being of the fetus. The average fetal heart rate is between 110 and 160 beats per minute, and can vary by 5 to 25 beats per minute. It may however change as the fetus responds to internal conditions within the uterus. An abnormal fetal heart rate or pattern may indicate that the fetus is not getting enough oxygen, among other possible harms.
Better health care: The Android based fetoscope will afford better health care to expectant mothers due to its affordability and ease of use. This is expected to reduce neonatal mortality in low and medium income countries.
Intrinsic analysis: Our system integrates analysis of a fetal heartbeat by displaying the number of beats per minute and alerting the user in the event of an irregularity. During different trimesters, the fetal heartbeat has different ranges. In the event that the fetal heartbeat is out of range, the user is alerted and advised to visit a doctor. The doctor is also able to call a patient in for examination incase an irregularity is observed.
Innovation: Our system is pioneer work on a heart rate monitoring system resident on the Android platform which covers 83% of the smartphone market share in Africa. This feature makes its adoption much easier and facilitates development of support applications.
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