Every year more than 15,000 expectant mums are needlessly induced due to inaccurate blood pressure readings, which raise fears of pre-eclampsia.
Pre-eclampsia can be very dangerous during pregnancy to both the baby and mum.
Although many women have a stress and worry free pregnancy, it’s thought pre-eclampsia affects one in 10 pregnancies overall and as many as one in five women during their first pregnancy.
There are very few signs of pre-eclampsia but doctors often use blood pressure as an indicator.
However, experts have now warned that more than 15,000 women a year are being induced unnecessarily due to high blood pressure readings, which may be caused by the hospital visits themselves.
Experts from St George’s Hospital in London suggest that many women have increased blood pressure while at the hospital because it is a stressful and nervous environment.
So, when their readings are taken, the results are often much higher than if it had been taken at home, where the mum is more relaxed.
To counteract this the team have developed an app which is launching on the NHS today and allows women to accurately test their own blood pressure at home.
Professor Asma Khalil, a consultant obstetrician at St George’s, said: ‘At home, many women are calmer – and this yields a much more accurate result.
‘We induce the majority – more than 90 per cent – of women who develop high blood pressure in pregnancy unless they go into labour early.’
Professor Khalil conducted a study, published in the Obstetrics & Gynaecology journal, which found that blood pressure readings of women in hospital were five times higher than those who used the app at home.
The app is called Hampton and has been launched by St George’s, Leicester University Hospital and Bolton NHS Foundation Hospital.
To measure your blood pressure you simply put the specially designed cuff on and connect to the app. It then gives a blood pressure reading and helps to indicate if you need to go to the doctors for further assistance or if you can continue with your pregnancy as normal.
From today some hospitals on the NHS will have the app available but you can also purchase it for £14 online and a cuff costs around £20.
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