In recent years there has been an increase in people’s ability to monitor their health at home using blood pressure monitoring kits, foetal dopplers that monitor and listen to a baby’s heartbeat and phone apps that record physiological measurements such as heart rate.
Some doctors have welcomed this advent of home-based health monitoring, for example, measuring blood pressure at home, rather than occasional blood pressure checks at antenatal appointments. An article in the British Medical Journal reported that eclampsia and pre-eclampsia are not easy to pick up during routine antenatal appointments, concluding that perhaps if pregnant women monitored their blood pressure at home they would have an early warning of blood pressure increasing, which can be a symptom of pre-eclampsia.
Campaigns such as ‘count the kicks’ are increasingly encouraging women to monitor their baby’s movements as a way of picking up any early warning that your baby is stressed or unwell.
If you would like to monitor your blood pressure or your baby’s heartbeat talk to your midwife to make sure that any monitoring you do is done correctly as incorrect monitoring may give either false reassurance or needless anxiety. Any home monitoring should be in addition to attending your clinic appointments – and not instead of the midwife checkup.