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Uterine Contraction Monitor: Improving Labor Management in the Low Resource Settings

Team Members:
  • Megan Lamberti
  • Marisa Babb
  • Jonathan Hunt
  • Michael Ketcha
  • Ashwyn Sharma
  • Saranga Arora
  • Kathleen Kusworo
  • Kusum Thapa, MD


Every year 300,000 maternal and 3 million neonatal deaths are caused by complications during and surrounding the time of childbirth; 97 percent of these occur in the developing world and many of these deaths could be prevented with improvements in clinical care. Of the 14 “essential” parameters tracked during labor, uterine contraction frequency and duration take the longest to measure, up to 10 minutes per hour per patient. Most often midwives do not do this as part of the standard of care and it prevents them from recording contraction frequency and duration at all. Due to the need to record frequency and duration, we have designed a simple, low-cost uterine contraction monitor for use in the developing world. The device is similar in shape to the tocodynamometer which includes a probe that protrudes into the surface of the patient’s abdomen. Upon contraction the probe deforms a sensor which detects the stiffening of the uterus during a contraction. Output is a reading displayed on the contraction monitor. We are currently developing the technology to send a text message to the midwife to indicating the contraction rate.

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