Technology Supports Maternal Health with Remote Blood Pressure Monitoring

Technology Supports Maternal Health with Remote Blood Pressure Monitoring

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A pregnant woman takes her blood pressure reading while sitting in her kitchen.

Research demonstrates that remote blood pressure monitoring and education programs for expectant and new mothers close care gaps with real-time feedback and intervention.  

Developing or worsening high blood pressure, or hypertension, during or after pregnancy can cause dangerous complications for birthing individuals and babies. For many of our patients, coming to the hospital for blood pressure monitoring is a challenge.

MedStar Health’s
D.C. Safe Babies Safe Moms Program has partnered with Babyscripts. This app-based platform allows patients to take their blood pressure at home while sending the results to their medical records and provides health education for birthing patients. Our program data indicates this intervention is helping more mothers keep track of their blood pressure during pregnancy and after delivery, providing opportunities to intervene if it gets too high.

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) impact one in seven pregnancies in the U.S., and about one-third of mothers who die during the perinatal period have a documented hypertensive disorder. HDP complications can include heart attack and stroke, and they are the leading cause of maternal death. HDP include:

  • Gestational hypertension: High blood pressure after 20 weeks of pregnancy without evidence of other heart or kidney problems. Gestational hypertension usually gets better after delivery but can increase some patients’ risk for future high blood pressure.
  • Preeclampsia: The sudden development of high blood pressure and protein in the urine after 20 weeks’ gestation. Chronic hypertension can develop into preeclampsia, a severe medical condition.
  • Eclampsia: Preeclampsia with seizures; this is a medical emergency that can be fatal for mother and fetus. 

Home blood pressure monitoring is essential to maternal health. MedStar Washington Hospital Center enrolls patients in the Babyscripts remote monitoring program for blood pressure, providing each patient with a blood pressure cuff to take home and access to the Babyscripts mobile app.

Birthing individuals use the cuff to take blood pressure readings from home. The data is uploaded into the Babyscripts platform and compared against personalized target ranges to ensure their blood pressure is appropriate for them. When a reading is out of range, Babyscripts notifies the MedStar Health care team, and we immediately reach out to the patient with instructions.


Related reading: Cardio-obstetrics Research Projects Aim to Make Pregnancy Healthier at All Stages.


Data show remote monitoring makes a difference.

Between January 1 and December 31, 2023, 741 birthing individuals were invited to use the Babyscripts platform. Of those, 84.1% engaged and used it at least once. In all, users logged 12,537 sessions and 47,480 hours on the platform.

During this period, participants uploaded 8,500 blood pressure readings in the weeks before delivery. Of these, 634 were considered “abnormal,” and 8.4% were “critical.” During the postpartum period, 31 abnormal values were logged, and 16% were in the critical range.

Each of these readings represents an opportunity to connect birthing people with much-needed care. Without remote monitoring, these patients would have been challenged to access health services, and some would likely have faced severe consequences from delayed or missed treatment.

Patients also accessed a large volume of educational material in the Babyscripts app. Top content included articles on following a vegetarian diet during pregnancy, vaginal birth after cesarean delivery, signs of labor, and well-child visits.

These educational components empower patients to take initiative in their healthcare and provide a convenient source of accurate information about pregnancy. 

Related reading: Chatbot Connects New Moms with Timely Infant and Maternal Care.

Meeting birthing patients where they are.

So many of our patients are challenged to come to the clinic, with obstacles ranging from transportation to childcare. This program enables us to help monitor their blood pressure remotely while empowering them to take charge of their pregnancy.

D.C. Safe Babies Safe Moms is a one-stop shop for birthing individuals dealing with pregnancy issues, including health, housing, food, legal, and more. Coordinating the delivery of these resources helps lighten the burden, improve health outcomes, and build stronger communities together.

Want more information about the MedStar Health Research Institute?

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