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New NHS app will mean pregnant women can have blood pressure to be checks at home

This article was taken from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/10/06/new-nhs-app-will-mean-pregnant-women-can-have-blood-pressure/

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Pregnant women will be offered a new NHS app, allowing those with high blood pressure to be monitored remotely, preventing thousands of visits to hospital.

All expectant mothers will be given access to a new digital record, so they can view test results, monitor their baby’s movements and access their medical records.

And those who suffer from high blood pressure – which can cause deadly complications – will be offered home monitors, to connect to their app, allowing them to keep a close check on their condition.

The country’s most senior midwife said the plans would “bring care closer to home” giving women more control over their pregnancy care, with instant access to information and advice.

The measures are part of a drive to improve safety of maternity services, and save 4,000 babies lives by 2025.

Today officials announced that more than 100,000 women have now been offered digital maternity apps, under pilot schemes to help them manage their pregnancy.

Now the scheme will be rolled out across the country, with all pregnant women – around  650,000 women a year – offered the app by 2024.

Around one in ten women will suffer from high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Pre-eclampsia | What to look out for

Pre-eclampsia affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy or soon after their baby is delivered.

Early signs include high blood pressure and protein in your urine are are likely to be picked up during routine antenatal appointments.

In some cases, further symptoms can develop. These include:

  • swelling of the feet, ankles, face and hands caused by fluid retention
  • severe headache
  • vision problems
  • pain just below the ribs

Although many cases are mild, the condition can lead to serious complications for both mother and baby if it’s not monitored and treated.

The earlier pre-eclampsia is diagnosed and monitored, the better the outlook for mother and baby.

Source: NHS

Left untreated, it can cause pre-eclampsia, which can cause complications which can prove fatal for mother or baby.

Under the programme, the NHS will roll out mobile monitors, so that those who need regular checks can do them at home, recording the data on their app, which local units can check.

Currently those with high blood pressure are advised to attend NHS maternity assessment units twice a week throughout their pregnancies, to undergo monitoring to check for pre-eclampsia.

While four in five women will never develop the condition, experts believe the repeated hospital visits increase anxiety during pregnancy, as well as having high NHS costs.

The digital records will also mean women can take photographs of their scans, to store on their digital record, record their birth preferences or refer themselves directly to local maternity units.

The app gives women a profile they can customise, with week by week pictures of the baby bump, with appointment reminders sent direct to smartphones, and access to advice.

Officials said the app would also mean that pregnant women could provide a host of information about their medical history in advance, freeing up more time to spend on their care during consultations.

It will also mean women can access information about their baby’s movements, and advice about what to do if there are signs the unborn child is not moving.

In January, the NHS pledged to offer 100,000  pregnant women access to digital records by the end of this year. But the deadline has been hit three months early.

Jacqueline Dunkley Bent, NHS chief midwifery officer for England said: “Expectant mums and their partners rightly want more say over their care and more information about how things are going during pregnancy, and that’s what we are delivering through the NHS Long Term Plan.”

“Digital maternity records bring women’s care closer to home, giving them more control over their pregnancy and care, and in surroundings and at times that suit them.”

Roger Carter, from NHS Digital’s maternity programme, said: “The power of a woman’s clinical record combined with relevant personalised information is phenomenal. Not only does it help to improve the overall experience for both expectant mums and health professionals, but it also promotes safer care.”