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Futuristic Tech Device Could Prevent Premature Babies

Here’s a novel solution to the problem of pre-term babies: An implantable device that detects contractions, giving doctors early warning of premature labor. The device, called “Cervo-Check”, looks like something out of Star Wars. And in fact, the whole proposed plan sounds a little Sci-Fi. But at some point, this, or something like it could be an important tool for future pregnancies.

More about how it works (and how much it costs!) after the jump.

Cervo-Check fits around the cervix, would be installed by a doctor in early pregnancy, and presumably removed at term. It contains sensors which pick up on the electrical signals generated by the uterus during a contraction. These signals would then be sent to a doctor via a wireless chip. By communicating the risk of preterm labor early, doctors would be able to take preventative measures and potentially delay labor up to six weeks. This is a huge improvement from current interventions which come too late in the process, and usually only manage to delay labor only a few days.

The device is the product of a design competition and has thus far only been tested on animals. But the tests have been successful, and the designers are optimistic about its future for pregnant women. Prevention of premature labor has obvious benefits for babies and their families. But there’s more at stake here, too: money.

Cervo-check stands to save hospitals and insurance companies about $44,000 per patient. At 500,000 premature births per year (in the U.S. alone) you can imagine how that adds up.

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