A new technique could allow expectant parents to hear their baby’s heartbeat continuously at home with a noninvasive and safe device that is potentially more accurate than any fetal heart rate monitor currently available on the market.

Device monitors baby’s heart. (Credit: Pixabay)

The device, which uses the same commercial sensors used in smartphones to horizontally or vertically orient the device, can record vibrations sent through a mother’s abdomen when her baby’s heart beats or when the fetus squirms and kicks. The sensors are barely a fifth-of-an-inch long, weigh next to nothing, and can run off a 3-V battery for more than 24 hours. The new monitor poses no risk to the fetus — it simply detects existing vibrations. The device could potentially reduce an estimated 2.6 million stillbirths per year worldwide.

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