Purpose: To evaluate how pregnant women perceive the use of remote fetal ECG monitoring technologies. Telemedicine has advanced to the forefront of healthcare delivery, including maternal-fetal medicine. Smart wearable electrocardiogram (ECG) devices can enable pregnant women to monitor their health and that of their fetuses. Such technology would be a logical extension of the telemedicine ecosystem.
Methods: We conducted an observational cross-sectional study via online surveying in the United States. Study participants were recruited using the SurveyMonkey Audience Polling system and responded virtually. In all, the sample consisted of 507 women, aged 18-45 from 45 states, who are expecting to become pregnant in the next five years. Women were asked to identify their willingness to use a wearable ECG device the size of a patch-sized large band-aid on their abdomen. Ten binary or multiple-choice questions were used to gauge population interest and related demographics towards the usage of a wearable ECG device.
Results: Of the 507 participants, 461 (91%) women expressed an acceptance of wearable ECG technology throughout the pregnancy as a mechanism for increased frequency of monitoring of maternal and fetal health outside the hospital. 395 (78%) women demonstrated a willingness to wear devices day and night or at least during sleep and 213 (42%) of the women would spend up to $200 on such a device.
Conclusion: Even though conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this study clearly indicates a high degree of readiness of prospective pregnant women for telemedicine with continuous health monitoring of the mother-fetus dyad.