Fetal Heart Monitor to Improve Birth Outcomes in Ethiopia
FHeartone by Baby Beatz is a fetal heart monitor that uses a horn shape and a microphone to amplify and acquire fetal heart sounds. It then displays the changes in fetal heart rate as graph.
In Ethiopia, over a quarter of births have adverse fetal outcomes, contributing to over 2.5 million stillbirths that occur in low and middle income countries each year. Fetal heart monitoring (FHM) elucidates trends that can provide more timely intervention in cases of birth complications, improving birth outcomes. The current standard of care in Ethiopia, the pinard horn, provides only point data and has high potential for human error, inhibiting accurate calculation of the trends used to identify potential complications. Additionally, more accurate fetal heart monitors used in the United States are expensive and typically rely on resources scarce in Ethiopia. This creates the need for a low-cost, simple, and accurate fetal heart monitor capable of calculating and clearly displaying fetal heart rate trends over time. Our solution, Heartone, uniquely fills this gap using microphone-based FHM to collect fetal heart sounds then display them on an app. Heartone utilizes the familiarity of the current standard of care to improve user compliance. It incorporates a horn shape with a microphone placed at the base to acquire fetal heart tones. Microphone-based monitoring is less costly than other automated methods of heart rate monitoring which, when combined with inexpensive components, will increase affordability. As device components are optimized for cost and manufacturing capabilities, we aim for our device to cost $35 or less, compared to devices of comparable functionality which cost hundreds of dollars. We verified the function of our device using a model womb, and we were able to calculate fetal heart rate with 95.8% accuracy. In the future, Heartone’s already low-cost and accurate design will be optimized through improved user interface, materials, and manufacturing. Heartone balances affordability, sustainability, and accuracy to improve birth outcomes in Ethiopia and worldwide.