India has made significant progress in reducing the rate of stillbirths over the past two decades. The rate had declined from 29.6 percent in 2000 to 13.9 stillbirths per 1,000 births in 2019 (Fig 1). There is an impressive 15 percent reduction in stillbirths, yet India makes the largest contribution towards the burden of stillbirths around the world.
Fig 1: Showing the progression of Still birth over the years
Even after such innovations and inventions in the medical field why does such a burden exist in terms of stillbirths? According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) at least eight prenatal check-ups, one ultrasound before 24 weeks of pregnancy and a daily intake of iron and folic acid supplements are required to prevent a stillbirth. During these prenatal check-ups, women who are over 28 weeks pregnant are instructed to track their baby’s movement. This is vital because an abnormality in the baby’s movement during the third trimester could be an early sign of distress in a baby and so if detected early can save a baby’s life. Mothers who have lost their babies during the third trimester have reported a 50 percent gradual decrease in their baby’s movement, which means that most cases of still births are not sudden and hence can save a life if you are aware of the warning signs that your baby shows.
Mothers who track these movements know what their baby’s normal movement are and hence can identify any potential red flags and report the same to their Obstetrician. These methods to count fetal movements have been followed since decades, firstly the mother usually sits during the time of the day when their baby is most active and notes the number of movements made, another method which are usually used at government hospitals are the knot method, wherein the mother ties a knot on a piece of thread and at the end of the day count the number of knots. These methods are not reliable as the way each mother perceives and counts the movement differ, making it difficult to standardize. Even though Medicine has improved over the years in terms of technology such manual tools are used to track something as important as fetal movement. Furthermore, COVID-19 has made it difficult for the OBGYN’s to stay in constant touch with their patients and track their status.
Janitri, a medical innovations company working specifically for antenatal maternal and foetal care has found an ingenious solution to this problem. NAVAM, a wearable fetal movement tracker designed to make the lives of pregnant women convenient. Just tap on the wearable and it sends the data via Bluetooth to the mother’s smartphone.
Listen to our doctor: It is important to track your baby’s movement, especially in the case of high-risk pregnancies as a change in movement during your third trimester could be signs of distress in the baby. I always wanted an innovation that can help track the baby’s movement and send forward daily/ weekly /monthly reports directly to the treating OBGYNs, so this way both can be sure about the baby’s wellbeing. I’m glad to know Janitri has bought forward a similar tracker which is interesting yet very important to make sure the fetus is safe, especially in high-risk pregnancy.
Dr. Lavanya Kiran
Sr Consultant- OBG, Repro Med, Robotic Surgeon
Cloud Nine Hospital
Visiting Surgeon: Narayana Health Hospitals