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New device aims to flag birth complications



It's a device that aims to revolutionise the way women are monitored while giving birth and a large pilot study has shown it can predict a leading cause of complications in most.

The Australian innovation, called Oli, was created to improve the way women are monitored at the pointy end of their pregnancy.

Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital is one of two centres involved in the pilot study of the device, which picks up several signals including heart rate and contractions.

Some 500 pregnant women took part in the research, which could be a game-changer in detecting health issues in the third trimester.

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One major complication came as a complete shock to Matilda Hadenham soon after the birth of her second child.

The new mum suffered a significant bleed which she said left her overwhelmed.

"The blood loss was so overwhelming, everyone jumping on me trying to put cannulas in," she said.

Matilda lost more than a litre of blood.

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"(I was) really worried, we know that women can end up with a hysterectomy after losing a significant amount of blood," she said.

Baymatob CEO Tara Croft said the invention aims to revolutionise the industry by providing an early warning for complications.

"What Oli does is look for patterns and combinations of those physiological signals," Croft said.

"We analyse that data with quite sophisticated artificial intelligence algorithms."

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Michelle de Vroome, lead investigator at Royal North Shore Hospital, said women can die if things go wrong.

The device was shown to predict more than 80 percent of haemorrhages before they occur.

That knowledge would lead to early intervention.

"That could be about the type of medications we give, the way we support the birth of the placenta," de Vroome said.

About one in five Australian women giving birth suffer from heavy bleeding.

It's the leading cause of complications and it can turn into tragedy.

Oli's creator is Sydney mum and engineer Sarah McDonald.

She developed the device after her own complications.

The next step is to validate the findings here and in the US.

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