One of the major trends I’m seeing in this space is enhanced mobility, both for the caregiver as well as the patient. This is quickly becoming a reality as mobile and wireless technologies are becoming smaller, portable and more advanced. From remote fetal and maternal monitoring to wearable sensors and monitoring patches placed on the patient, these kinds of miniaturized technologies make it possible to provide mothers critical freedom of movement during labor that benefits both mother and child.
Research has shown that mothers who can move around and are upright during labor may have reduced duration of labor, as well as reduced need for pain relief or labor induction drugs. Studies also reveal less frequent abnormal heart rate patterns for women in upright positions, as well as less pain and backache during labor. As a result, women in labor have the ability to find the most suitable position during birth. At Philips, our Avalon CL Monitoring System is a completely cableless fetal and maternal monitoring solution that provides full mobility, even when bathing, showering or visiting the bathroom, or even during water births.
Mobility is a benefit for the clinician as well as the patient. Fetal and maternal monitoring information, labor progress charts and details of the labor and delivery are easily accessible either within or outside of the hospital 24/7 with access to near real-time patient information on PCs or mobile devices such as tablets. Philips IntelliSpace Perinatal incorporates this technological capability as an obstetrical information system. The same applies for sick babies in the NICU where exciting solutions such as Philips CareEvent and IntelliVue Mobile Caregiver provide alerts and vital patient data on handheld devices on the go, so clinicians can work together to deliver fast, responsive care to the most vulnerable patients.
In this evolving era of clinical mobility, care teams are always on the move. Mobile and miniaturized enabling technologies will continue to enhance the experience and mobility of mothers giving birth – and of delivering enhanced care to those who need it most. Mobility for the caregiver and relevant patient population is here to stay, and we as a company are investing heavily in innovation that leads the way there.
 A. Lawrence , L. Lewis, GJ Hofmeyr, T. Dowswell, C. Styles, “Maternal positions and mobility during first stage labour.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2009): Issue 2. Art. No. CD003934, doi:10.1002/14651858, CD003934. pub2.
 Flynn et al., “Ambulating in labour,“ Br Med J. (1978) Aug 26, 2 (6137):591-3.
 World Health Organization, “Care in Normal Birth,” (1996): 60 pages.