At 35 weeks, I am getting antsy for the big day. My body is changing and those pre-labor symptoms are starting to emerge. One of the most noteworthy pre-labor symptoms has been the Braxton Hicks contractions. While not constant, I notice that the Braxton Hicks are generally more prominent with movement or when I workout. While Braxton Hicks can be annoying and unpredictable, I remind myself that they are my body's way of preparing for labor. But, the truth is, I have a hard time identifying whether or not they are real contractions or not. This got me thinking about the idea of being able to track them. Was there a product out there that allowed for the tracking of contractions?
Tracking contractions would be beneficial for several reasons...
These are many reasons why a contraction monitor would allow for peace of mind as I approach the big day. And, to my luck, I came across a woman's health company called Bloomlife, which offers a technologically advanced contraction tracker. Woo hoo! Here is a little more about the company, the contraction tracker, and my personal experience.
What is Bloomlife?
Bloomlife is a women’s health company focused on improving the health of moms and babies.
Why is the contraction tracker helpful?
How does the Bloomlife contraction tracker work?
There are three parts to the Bloomlife tracker: app, sensor, reusable patch.
The app is available in the app store but does not work without the sensor and patch. Bloomlife designed the information interface alongside members of the birth community to cleanly highlight the most valuable data. To me, the most noteworthy stats from the app include:
SENSOR, PATCH + CHARGER
In addition to the app, the sensor, patch and charger are included in the package. The sensor and patch can be taken on and off your body for up to one week. Clear directions are included in the package to help you understand how to easily attach the sensor to the patch, how to attached the patch to your body, and also how to remove and store the patch. As a side note, the sensor battery life outlives the patch life, but Bloomlife recommends charging fully each time the sensor is snapped out of the patch.
Is the Tracker Safe?
Like all moms, this question was the most important consideration before using the product. And the answer is, yes, the product is 100% safe! In the exact words from a Bloomlife professional, this was the response I got with respect to safety:
"Bloomlife is completely passive - it reads bioelectrical signals from the uterine muscle - meaning it doesn't send any waves of any kind into Mom's body. We've designed every aspect of Bloomlife for safety, including this little piece. The level of energy from Bloomlife's Bluetooth (Bluetooth LE, "Low Energy") is 100 times lower than cellphone level and 1,000 times lower than the safety levels defined by the regulatory bodies. We've also done extensive testing to show that the Specific Absorption Rate (how much energy gets through the tissue) is so low that any energy from Bloomlife's Bluetooth signal does not actually enter Mom's body whatsoever. Hope that helps answer some questions!!"
My Personal Experience
After my second pregnancy (now on my third), I grew more interested in my ability to track contractions. At 37 weeks, my doctor had assured me that I would go into labor "any day now" because I was 3cm dilated and having pretty consistent Braxton Hicks. With the consistency of the BH's, I too, knew that labor must be close. However, I persisted on through 41 weeks and had to be induced with my second son. While my induction process went ever so smoothly, I did birth a big baby: he was 9 lbs. 3 oz. Looking back on this process, had I been able to identify or track my contractions more consistently, I feel like I could have more clearly dictated the terms of my labor experience. Hindsight is always 20/20, but maybe I would have opted to have my membranes swept at 40 weeks, rather than going seven days past my due date only to be induced. Again, who knows what I would have done in this situation, but I do feel a contraction tracker would have been helpful.
Fast forward to my third pregnancy, and I am most interested in the ability to track my contractions for the aforementioned reasons. Because I birth big babies, I like the idea of knowing whether or not labor is close and feel that having a contraction tracker, such as the Bloomlife, will empower me with that information. Sure. Labor will happen when it is going to happen, but for someone like me who has had vaginal deliveries in the past, I fear that if I go over 40 weeks, I may end up with a 10+ lbs baby with the possibility of a c-section in my future. If I can avoid this, I'd love to do so, and by understanding my contractions, I think I will be able to paint a more accurate picture of labor and delivery as opposed to what I went through with my last pregnancy.
So I did it! I have partnered with Bloomlife after researching innovative companies that allow mamas to track contractions. Bloomlife suggests starting the contraction tracking process ideally around 34 weeks, which was perfect for me at 35 weeks pregnant. Upon receiving the Bloomlife package, I opened the box, and was excited to start monitoring my contraction journey! After all, I was 35 weeks pregnant and labor could happen at any moment. Opening the package lid, I found a sensor, patch and charger, which were displayed in an organized fashion, along with a quick guide. I quickly opened the guide and got started!
Within the quick guide was five easy steps to follow. The first step was super easy: download the app. I found the Bloomlife app easily, downloaded it, and setup a profile with very basic information. I then proceeded to the following steps to get the patch attached to the sensor, and then to attach both to my belly. Within minutes, I was ready to go! Next, I started a session and waited about five minutes for the sensor to calibrate. Note: you must be resting during this process, as any movement can throw off the tracker.
After calibration, I sat peacefully for about an hour, checking in and out of the application as it tracked my contractions. I will add that the app is extremely user-friendly with straight forward features, allowing me to see any peaks in contractions, the duration of those contractions and the frequency.
After my hour spent of tracking contractions, the app simply summarized my information. I found that I had contracted twice during the hour with the average contraction lasting in a duration of 1 minute and 30 seconds. While I found that tracking the contractions during the day was exciting and helpful, I also knew that Bloomlife recommends tracking contractions through the night in order to get the most accurate reading. So, this is what I did! I tracked my contractions over night and this is what I found...
They were somewhat all over the place, but I did get the most accurate results when I did complete the full overnight reading. In fact, there was one night in which I apparently experienced an hour of contractions coming every 10 minutes. That is crazy! Almost as if if I were awake, I'd think to possibly call my doctor. Aside from that, I use the tracker for an hour before bed and haven't had huge traction. Stay tuned for more Bloomlife updates!
Use code "BROOKE10" for 10% off your Bloomlife purchase!