Some Things to Know About At-Home Pregnancy Monitoring

Many moms-to-be are searching for new remote pregnancy monitoring solutions and some tips and facts for those expecting and for prenatal care organizations are included below.

Many moms-to-be are searching for new remote pregnancy monitoring solutions, according to a recent survey conducted by Nuvo.

The survey examined the recent experiences of 500 new or expecting mothers and focused on the existing challenges of in-person prenatal care appointments, such as the necessary time commitment, childcare needs and time spent away from work, along with serious concerns about COVID-19 exposure. It also revealed new trends in the use of telehealth and remote monitoring options during pregnancy.

Some significant findings and trends collected were that the average woman sets aside more than one hour (69 minutes) for each in-person prenatal visit, spending a total of over 800 minutes or 13 hours at in-person prenatal visits during pregnancy.

New and expecting moms surveyed reported being “really worried” about exposure to COVID-19 (71%) as a direct result of in-person prenatal visits.

More specifically, 80% of new and expectant mothers of color, who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, reported being “very worried” about exposure to COVID-19 during prenatal visits.

The survey reported 79% of women pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic have had as many as seven prenatal telehealth visits with their physician—however, anecdotal evidence suggests these visits were often lacking some of the vital measurements taken during in-person visits. Although visits were lacking some common or routine steps, 77% of new and expectant mothers would prefer to do some of their prenatal visits remotely as long as their doctor could provide the same level of care.

Lastly, 93% of women surveyed felt hearing from their doctor that their pregnancy is going well is the most reassuring part of their prenatal visits.

Dr. Elizabeth Cherot M.D., chief medical officer of Axia Women’s Health confirms there are reliable options for remote pregnancy monitoring that do exist. However, because they currently lack critical fetal and maternal viability checks, it is important to talk to your doctor about comprehensive remote monitoring solutions that may be available, such as the INVU platform, which monitors both maternal and fetal heart rates.

For women who are considering tracking their pregnancies at home, Cherot also recommends patients to ask their physicians which types/brands of peripheral devices he or she recommends to help monitor and record vitals regularly and safely; such as a blood pressure cuff.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, for those offering remote services, the following should be offered for patients:

  • Facilitate access to telehealth and remote patient monitoring: The COVID-19 response has altered how many women receive pregnancy related care and has fostered an increased reliance on telehealth for prenatal and postpartum visits. States can improve access to evidence-based medicine through a number of measures.
  • Broaden durable medical equipment benefits: In order to conduct certain telehealth services, including remote patient monitoring, patients will need access to DME. To protect women and the obstetric care workforce, states should broaden DME benefits.
  • Eliminate financial barriers and other inequities for patients: Patient cost-sharing is known to create barriers to care. The COVID-19 pandemic may intensify existing financial obstacles to accessing health services.

Cherot adds pregnant women might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant women, so if signs appear during this time it's crucial to act on it fast.