Netherlands-based Royal Philips has installed the first Avalon cableless foetal monitoring system (Avalon CL), a device that detects foetal and maternal heart rates during pregnancy, labour and delivery, at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in the UK.
The system's wireless design helps reduce the amount of cables in an obstetrics (OB) department and expands the intrapartum and antepartum measurement parameters.
The design also allows mothers to move more freely during labour and it uses smart pulse technology to automatically detect the coincidence between maternal pulse and foetal heart rate, even with twins and triplets.
Royal Philips said that studies show upright positions and walking are associated with a reduction in the length of the first stage of labour. Women in upright positions may also be less likely to have an epidural.
The company cited research results that show that maintaining a supine position in labour may have adverse physiological effects on the mother and her baby.
Gloucestershire Royal Hospital assistant divisional director of midwifery Dawn Morrall said: "Our main aim is to deliver more choice for women in labour.
"We want to ensure that mothers-to-be and their babies benefit from the advantages of being mobile and upright in labour, while also providing the best possible birth experience."
The Gloucestershire Royal Hospital current has six Avalon CL units equipped at its delivery suites.
A team at the hospital will carry out a year-long research project called MUM (Mums Up & Mobile), to provide a valuable insight on the benefits of making labour more mobile.
It is expected that the results will help better inform the decisions of women giving birth.
Philips Healthcare UK indirect channel account manager Linda Woods said: "Cableless monitoring is part of the Philips focus on developmental care, which provides a holistic approach to caring for the individual mother and child across the continuum.
"Avalon CL also is an example of how we innovate, by deeply understanding the needs of our customers and their patients. To this end, we are excited to support the MUM project, as we believe it will offer insights that will inform future innovations."
Avalon CL provides better coincidence detection, increased mobility and flexibility during labour and enhanced monitoring under water.
Image: Philips Avalon CL at the Gloucester Royal Hospital. Photo: courtesy of Koninklijke Philips NV.