Have You Ever Wanted to Monitor Your Baby’s Heartbeat at Home During Pregnancy?
If you're a parent or parent-to-be, you may be familiar with the Owlet sock, a product that has been on the market for a few years now that allows parents to monitor their babies' breathing and heart rate from afar.
The Owlet has been a popular parenting tool since it was introduced, with plenty of stories about how it has helped parents in scary situations and given them invaluable peace of mind when it comes to monitoring their baby's health and safety. The Owlet is pretty simple: it's a small sock that houses a hospital-grade monitor. The monitor used in the sock has been extensively tested to ensure that there are as few “false alarms” as possible and to be accurate while not interfering with your baby's movement or sleep. Parents can get alerted through their phone or the home device if there is a problem. And honestly, the Owlet has become pretty synonymous with modern-day parenting, especially in the era of SIDS, when so many parents feel helpless to prevent the tragic condition — having a monitor, while never a guarantee, can help parents feel like they are taking a step towards ensuring their child's safety.
And now, Owlet has taken that safety monitoring to a whole new level by introducing the world's first-ever wearable pregnancy monitor for at-home use. Meet the Owlet Band.
According to the official Owlet website, the Owlet Band looks similar to a pregnancy band you might wear to hold up your pants or support your belly as it grows, but unlike your pants' companion, this belly band packs some serious technology: it actually has a super-thin ECG sensors built in that can monitor your baby. The sensors can pick up everything from your baby's heart rate to kicks and movement and even contractions. And of course, because everything has an app, the Owlet band also comes complete with its own corresponding app so you can monitor your baby through your phone and track movements, activity, and contraction patterns. You can even record an audio of your baby's heartbeat right at home using the band to have forever. Pretty cool, right?
I have to admit that I was especially excited about this product when I heard about it because I know the fear that can grip you when you're pregnant after a loss and just want to know that the baby is OK. It's a long, long wait until you can feel the baby move and, unfortunately, most insurance companies frown upon ultrasounds and check-ups every day until you're out of the first trimester just for your peace of mind. (I know, how rude, right??) It's easy to see how something like this could really ease a mother's mind as soon as she is able to detect the baby's heartbeat if she is pregnant after a loss–that peace of mind knowing the baby is OK right at home would be amazing!
Unfortunately, however, the Owlet pregnancy band as it is slated to release in late 2019 is only meant to be used by mothers starting at 24 weeks and up through birth, so it wouldn't be helpful to worrying mothers in their first trimester. But who knows, this could be the start of technology that would give us that reassurance someday. What the Owlet pregnancy band could be very helpful for, however, is providing a way to monitor your baby as you near your due date. So many mothers fear tragedies such as stillbirth happening as they near the due date and the pregnancy band could help you track and monitor your baby's activity and kick counts automatically to help detect if there is a problem.
Although the Owlet pregnancy band is not available yet and you can't purchase it online or in any stores at the moment, you can sign up on the Owlet website to get updates on the product, get notified of its release, and even sign up to be a Beta tester of the product. (Um, awesome!)
You should also know that the Owlet is not a medical device and you should always, always speak to your doctor or midwife before purchasing or using any type of at-home wearable or monitor during your pregnancy.