Evolution of Wearable Technology: Women Can Track Fertility Levels, Stop Menstrual Cramps

Apple_Watch-Beyond pedometers, fitness and health trackers are doing a great job of helping to improve the lives of women and men.

Wearable technology has achieved something incredible,  incorporating advanced electronic technologies with clothing. In some cases, this is called “tech togs,” while other refer to it as “fashion electronics.” No matter what you called it, it’s been recognized that wearable technology is being used to boost the health of women.

Women face specific health issues, which stand apart from health issues faced solely by men. More and more, businesses are looking to meet the unique needs of women, developing and perfecting wearable technology that intends to keep them healthy. These technologies aren’t restricted to tracking running and walking, smart fitness clothing and wearable technology to track fertility levels and other things that a technician would be required for.

Livia

Livia, for instance, is a gadget that promises to stop menstrual cramps, which is debilitating for some women. Drug-based pain relief can be temporarily sufficient, but doesn’t help quite as much as it should and could become expensive. Livia targets ‘the pain gates’ and attempts to close them. This is done by stimulating the nerves involved, and blocking pain signals being sent to the brain. The compact device can fit comfortably on a waistband while two electrodes are applied to the abdomen to put an end to the pain. The USB-chargeable device has no side-effects, and can last about 15 hours.

Elvie and OhMiBod’s Lovelife krush

Whether you’re attempting to recover from childbirth or improve your bladder and bowel control, pelvic floor exercises are likely quite beneficial to you. Elvie, which is a tampon-like device provides pelvic floor workouts in five-minute increments. In conjunction with a cell phone, users can control program and strength rating before they complete kegel exercises. The device is able to meet the needs of different body types and ‘skill levels.’ As kegel muscles strengthen, the device adapts and become gradually more difficult in order to encourage and track progress. OhMiBod’s Lovelife krush is a similar device, but it has a slight twist. It’s part pelvic floor exercise gadget and part sexual health device. It has built-in sensors, a supplementary app that tracks daily activity, and it has special vibration patterns for sexual intimacy.

The Looncup

The Looncup is a wearable sensor for your period, tracking menstruation volume levels and color variations. The device analyzes the health of a woman’s period, it checks for discrepancies and determines if a visit to the doctor is warranted. This device is made from hypoallergenic silicone, and has a battery life of about six months, and it’s relatively inexpensive compared to other conventional options.

iTBra and OMbra

The iTBra is a smart bra that detects the early signs of breast cancer. The bra can detect if there have been any sudden changes in a woman’s circadian temperature, unveiling abnormal developments within the breast cells. Examinations take anywhere between two and 24 hours, and the results are sent to the wearer’s smartphone or personal computer for future consultation. The detection rate for the iTBra is higher than for mammograms. Also, OMbra is a smart bra, which adapts to body and workout, absorbing pressure and reducing stress on one’s back and shoulders. Feedback is shared on heart rate, cadence, impact, and breathing rate. It perfectly captures how much you push yourself when working out.

The Pilldrill

The Pilldrill is an updated take on the pillbox. As opposed to just housing your pills, this pillbox delivers timely visual and audio alerts for each dose. A user only needs to scan the pill container, and the Pilldrill tracks tablets. The box works in conjunction with a number of other apps, such as Mood Cube, which tracks adverse side effects when switching birth control methods.

The digital resources available to women can truly change their lives and improve their personal health.

Are Screens Hurting Your Baby?

dr lori gore green dentonIt’s undeniable that emerging technologies are changing virtually all facets of how we live. And childrearing is certainly included in theses sweeping changes. Parents are currently faced with a myriad of options when it comes to arming themselves with as much information about their children through using various tech gadgets to aid them in tending to their children. (See my earlier article on micro tech here). Overwhelmingly these advancements in changing technologies are solving all sorts of problems and opening up opportunities and possibilities across many fields that were unimaginable just one or two decades ago. However, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on the many ways in which certain uses of technologies effect children. For example, what does screen time do to our babies?

With the introduction of so many screened devices into our adult lives in such a relatively short amount of time, there haven’t been any significant longitudinal studies to better understand the effects of screen time on the development of children. In addition to being unaware of what the long-term effects may or may not be for babies, we also don’t know what factors might mitigate potential negative side effects.

As with all kinds of thorough research, time is a factor, and unfortunately these screened devices have not been widely available for very long. However, there are certain things that are known currently through research from the past, that can be extended to this arena when thinking about best practices and safety guidelines as they pertain to parenting and childrearing.

Screens are problematic in childhood development-especially for babies and toddlers when they displace interactions with people. In the first year of life, some of the most important interactions are those of the “serve and return” variety. Essentially a baby makes a noise, a parent responds in kind back, and it goes from there. Here a baby is learning the concept of a conversation, imitating sounds and observing that different facial expressions signify different things. This process can be extended to a number of other scenarios, and the practice requires repetition.

Although certain apps are interactive and educational, the American Academy of Pediatrics still suggests that children under the age of 2 not be exposed to screen-devices as the effects are not yet known.

While an interactive app may ultimately be more significant as a positive step in the development of a child than a distracted parent, we just do not have enough information to fully assess the effects of these devices. What we do know, is that the more meaningful and attentive interactions that a baby shares with other people, the better.

 

Micro Technology : The Wireless Baby

dr lori gore greenAs new technologies continue to flood the market at an increasingly rapid rate, consumers are faced with the chance to make decisions about what devices they want to include in their homes and those that they can skip. But what does this mean when it comes to technology for your baby?

I wrote earlier on the studies performed on advanced monitoring technology like those found in bluetooth onesies and sleep apnea monitors. These high tech devices monitor a child’s breathing habits, vitals and more. However, in most professional opinions, these devices do not guarantee the prevention of SIDS or necessarily contribute in any significant way to the overall well-being of the infant. These devices cannot replace the attention of a parent to a child. And a parent should not rely on these sorts of technologies as any sort of substitution for actively attending to their child. Instead, these devices should be considered aids in the rewarding and exhausting job of being a parent. While I do not condone the effectiveness or safety of the products listed below, it is interesting to see what kinds of wearable devices and advanced monitoring systems are currently available to assist in the process of child rearing.

Connected Wearables

Dr. Lori Gore - GreenMimo is the most well-known brand to incorporate wearable technologies into infant care. The mimo kimono houses the “turtle”, this is a bluetooth device encased in a plastic turtle covering. This device collects information regarding your baby’s breathing, body position, activity while sleeping as well as monitors the infant’s skin temperature. This information is sent to the “lily pad” which streams data and live audio to the cloud. This information then streams your information to your connected device. This intensive monitoring of vital signs allows you to gain insight into how your child is sleeping.

 

Dr. Lori Gore GreenThe Owlet is another wearable device that provides constant monitoring of a small child. This device is enclosed in the owlet smart sock, and monitors the heart rate and oxygen levels of the infant. Unlike the Mimo kimono, the owlet alerts you only if your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels are outside the norm. Alerts are sent to both your base station and your phone. The device utilizes hospital grade technology of pulse oximetry while monitoring a child. Again, this is not meant to replace the careful attention of a parent, but instead to aid in the monitoring process.

dr lori gore greenIn the same vein as both owlet and mimo is MonBaby. This is an award-winning baby monitor that snaps onto any article of a child’s clothing. MonBaby monitors breathing movements, body position (on the back or on the stomach), fall detection, proximity removal, but you get to choose which alerts you will receive.

 

Video Monitors

Dr. Lori Gore-GreenWhile baby monitors are nothing new, the form that they have taken as of late is much more advanced than the sound monitors of old that were essentially 1 way walkie talkies. Companies from Sony to Samsung to Motorola are getting in on the chance to provide top-notch monitoring for parents of infants. One of the most advanced connected products in the way of video monitoring devices is the Drop Cam. This system includes a camera to be placed in the infant’s room. The picture quality of the lens is unbeatable, and the wide angle lens surveys a larger area of the room than most baby video monitoring systems. The cloud connected camera then alerts you to noises and movements via an app on your phone, freeing you up from traditional video monitors.

 

In this world of ever changing technologies, it’s worthwhile to at least be aware of your tech choices as a parent, whether you choose to incorporate them into your child’s life or not. It’s also important to remember that nothing replaces a parent’s undivided attention and that these new technologies intended to assist the job of the parent… not replace it. Whether you are considering a new wearable, an advanced video monitor, or a self-warming bottle, remember that none of these can or should replace your attention.