A UK company has created a tool that can detect pregnancy in women as early as six weeks after giving birth.
The device, which the company has named ‘Pregnancy Detection’ was created by company-based company Biotec.
It is designed to track the progress of women through their pregnancies and also detect signs of early pregnancy.
“We’re trying to find a way to track what happens with women as they start their pregnancy,” the company’s head of product, Anna-Marie Williams, told the Independent.
“It’s a bit like the GPS tracking that you see in some of the older Google cars.”
The device is a simple camera and a smartphone app that is able to detect the pregnancy as early or late as six to eight weeks after the baby is born.
BiotEC has also developed a similar product, which is designed for detecting the pregnancy in early pregnancy testing kits, and will be launching it in 2018.
The technology is being used by NHS midwives to detect women with abnormal fetal growth or who are taking an anti-bacterial medication that could lead to infection.
“This technology could potentially be used for detecting any kind of early-pregnancy-related condition,” Ms Williams said.
“I think it’s going to be a very important piece of evidence, and it’s really important that we get to the point where we know how to do this so we can make informed decisions for patients.”
“The idea of the device is that it is a tiny little piece of kit that will record all of the progress with women throughout their pregnancies.”
Ms Williams also said the company had been approached by a number of organisations including the NHS, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the National Health Service.
“So we have been contacted by organisations like the Royal Australian College of Gynaics, the National Women’s Hospital, the Mater Hospital, and so on,” she said.
Ms Williams believes the development of pregnancy detection could help the NHS “catch the epidemic of pre-eclampsia” that is currently affecting women of all ages and health backgrounds.
“If you look at pre-existing conditions that women with pre-episodic infections have, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, it’s very likely that that’s also related to their pregnancies,” she explained.
“The ability to look at all of those things at once could be really helpful for us to see whether there are any pre-clinical indications that could be associated with those conditions.”
The company hopes to expand the project to other countries by the end of the year.
It has also created a crowdfunding campaign to help it build the device in a bid to raise $5,000 (£3,300) to develop the technology further.
The company has also launched a website to help people find out more about the product.