Mothers can now hear their baby's heart rate in real-time on their wrist using the Apple Watch. At today's big event Apple announced that physicians can monitor fetal heart rate, as well as contractions and the mother's heart rate remotely. The audience responded with applause to a demo of the fetal heart rate played at the event. Already, 3.5 million women have been monitoring their pregnancies using Airstrip, a HIPPA-compliant application that works on mobile devices from Android, Microsoft, Apple, and now on the Apple Watch.
The pregnancy care capabilities are possible through AirStrip's sub-app called Sense4Baby, which pairs with sensors that pregnant women place on their bellies. It can distinguish between a mother's heart rate from her baby's, which has been "a problem for many years with home monitoring," according to AirStrip co-founder Dr. Cameron Powell. Physicians had been using AirStrip to monitor pregnant women at the hospital and can now use it to monitor women from their homes. Doctors send a request for the mother to perform a Non Stress Test (NST). When the test is complete, the data can be sent to the physician using the Apple Watch.
Powell, who demonstrated the heart rate on stage, called the Apple Watch a "game-changer for healthcare." The Watch app also allows doctors to look forward at their schedules for the day ahead by rotating the digital crown on the watch face.
Here's an Apple exec demonstrating how it works:
This post has been updated to clarify that the 3.5 million women who used Airstrip to monitor their pregnancy were across all mobile devices, not the Apple Watch version.