New app helps moms-to-be monitor blood pressure

Elevated blood pressure or gestational hypertension in pregnant mothers can lead to a multitude of complications that can affect the baby. In severe cases, pregnant mothers can develop preeclampsia, a sudden increase in blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Preeclampsia may pose a serious threat to the mother and her baby. It includes signs of organ damage, such as the kidneys and liver. For patients who are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, blood pressure monitoring is crucial in conjunction with treatment.

The National Health Service in the United Kingdom has launched a new maternity app that lets mothers manage their pregnancy at home, including their blood pressure. The new app will lessen the need to visit the primary physician during pregnancy, and it provides a comprehensive maternity data storage, just like a mother’s books, wherein she can record the photographs of her scans, birth preferences, referral to maternity units, monitor the baby’s movements and record their blood pressure.

The NHS plans to make the app available to about 650,000 expectant mothers each year by 2024. Image Credit: Syda Productions / Shutterstock
The NHS plans to make the app available to about 650,000 expectant mothers each year by 2024. Image Credit: Syda Productions / Shutterstock

Proper blood pressure monitoring is essential to help doctors determine the need for treatment and to evaluate the mother’s health, as well as the baby’s well-being.

In the past year, health officials have announced that more than 100,000 women used the digital maternity app, as a pilot study. The trial was successful, and the NHS plans to make the app available to about 650,000 expectant mothers each year by 2024.

“Expectant mums and their partners rightly want more say over their care and more information about how things are going during pregnancy, and that’s what we are delivering through the NHS Long Term Plan,” Jacqueline Dunkley Bent, NHS Chief Midwifery officer, said.

“Digital maternity records bring women’s care closer to home, giving them more control over their pregnancy and care, and in surroundings and at times that suit them,” she added.

All-around monitor

The new app serves as an all-around monitor, with mothers able to record and monitor their baby’s movements. They can also access their medical records and monitor their blood pressure. Mothers with increased blood pressure will be given home monitors that can be linked to the app, hence, allowing the mother to record and keep track of their blood pressure readings.

This way, the health of the expectant mothers are closely monitored, despite not visiting a doctor’s clinic. Aside from that, mothers will have a sense of control over their condition.

At present, patients with elevated blood pressure are advised to attend NHS maternity assessment units two times a week during pregnancy. Also, they’re advised to undergo monitoring the check for the progression to preeclampsia.

With the new app, pregnant mothers may monitor their health, especially blood pressure at home.

Digital maternity projects

The NHS rolled out four digital maternity projects, which are intended to help pregnant mothers take care of their health. The NHS aims to meet its objectives of improving outcomes in maternity services in the country.

The services aim to improve NHS’s quality of care for its patients. Also, it will help doctors and health care professionals to get data from their patients easily and faster.

The NHS plans that all mothers will be given access to their new digital record, where they can access their tests results, monitor their blood pressure, and even record the movements of the baby.

The drive to improve the country’s maternity services and save about 4,000 baby lives by 2025 are just part of the country’s plan to improve maternal care.

What is preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is the sudden increase in blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy. Although many cases are mild, it can lead to serious complications if it’s not treated and managed properly. Both the mother and the baby should be monitored and treated to prevent a serious complication, called eclampsia.

Eclampsia is a condition wherein seizures and convulsions occur in a pregnant woman who has high blood pressure. The condition often leads to coma and can endanger the lives of not only the pregnant mother but her baby as well.

The early signs of pre-eclampsia include high blood pressure, protein in the urine, severe headache, pain below the ribs, blurred vision, and swelling of the feet, face, ankles, and hands due to fluid retention.

Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo

Written by

Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo

Angela is a nurse by profession and a writer by heart. She graduated with honors (Cum Laude) for her Bachelor of Nursing degree at the University of Baguio, Philippines. She recently completed a Master's Degree where she specialized in Maternal and Child Nursing and is now working as a clinical instructor and educator in the School of Nursing at the University of Baguio.

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