Queen's professor develops postpartum iPhone app
A low-tech cardboard wheel physicians used for decades to calculate pregnancy delivery dates has inspired a novel iPhone app with the potential to improve health outcomes for new mothers. Maternelle is a post-pregnancy tool focusing for the first time on the health of new mothers as well as their babies.
“Until now, post-partum follow-up saw most of the attention placed on the baby’s health. This tool reminds both the mother and her doctor to also monitor the mom’s health, including such important indicators as blood pressure and weight,” says Graeme Smith, a professor of obstetrics at Queen’s University who is also an obstetrician at Kingston General Hospital.
Dr. Smith collaborated with PARTEQ Innovations, the technology transfer office at Queen’s, to develop the interactive app enabling new mothers to take charge of their health. Mothers can keep track of their baby’s immunizations, while also setting personal health goals, recording their progress, and documenting results of follow-up tests. Built-in email capability makes it convenient for mothers and doctors to connect.
“Pregnancy is a stress test that can reveal underlying health issues,” Dr. Smith says. “At the same time, it is often the first time a woman regularly accesses the health care system. So it’s a new and early window of opportunity to identify risk factors and implement strategies to improve mother’s long-term health.”
The app builds on Dr. Smith’s groundbreaking Maternal Health Program, believed to be the first in the world to use pregnancy and the post-birth period as crucial opportunities for focusing on disease prevention in women, particularly heart disease.
“It is very encouraging when I see scholars bridging the gap between the research happening in the lab and what is being practiced in the community. Developments at Queen’s are extending into products and processes that are having a positive impact on the health of mothers, both in Canada and world-wide,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research).