Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Fetofit revolutionises foetal monitoring

For years the healthcare sector has been crying out for a revolution in the way that foetal heart rate is monitored during pregnancy and labour. Today, this revolution has materialised due to the work of Midwifery student Betina Andersen from the University of Hertfordshire.

As a student midwife, Betina noticed the pitfalls of the wrap-round elastic belts that are currently used to hold the monitoring transducers in place. As well as presenting hygiene issues, these reusable belts prevent mobility and are reported to be greatly uncomfortable when used for extended periods of time. Identifying a niche in the market, Betina challenged convention and developed Fetofit, a revolutionary strap design that attaches directly onto the front of the abdomen via adhesive pads.

The strap grants mobility in labouring women and a special adhesive means that it can be repositioned and moved easily to trace the foetal heart rate. Because the strap is stuck to the skin, it is also suitable for women of all sizes - a problem that the wrap-round belt has begun to struggle with due to rising obesity levels. The strap has also been designed with added hygiene benefits; as a single person, disposable item, one person is able to reuse their strap but no two women will ever share the same one therefore eliminating the risk of cross-infection.

For her innovative design, Betina was awarded the University’s Proof of Concept award and was also named ‘flare Business of the Year 2011’ in the annual flare competition, an annual enterprise ideas challenge for students and alumni at UH. The strap is patent pending and is ready to be trialled within the NHS.

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