Daily fetal movement counting based on maternal perception is widely deployed to monitor fetal wellbeing. However, the counting performed by the mother is prone to errors for various reasons. There are limited devices on the market that can provide reliable and automatic counting. This paper presents a prototype of a novel fetal movement monitoring device based on fibre Bragg grating sensors. Deformation of the skin caused by a fetal movement can lead to a change of the strain and stress on the optical fibre sensors, therefore can induce distortions to the breathing pattern of the mother. In the study data was gathered by the sensors through strain measurement and was post-processed using independent component analysis (ICA) and high-pass filtering to show the instances of the fetal movements. Information gathered during user trials with the prototype suggests that the system detects significantly higher numbers of fetus movements than that observed based on the mother's perception. Among the various techniques available for fetal movement monitoring, fibre optic sensing provides many advantages including multiplex capability, flexibility and minimal size, making the concept an attractive solution for reliable monitoring of antenatal fetal movements.
Keywords: fetal movement monitoring; fibre Bragg grating; kick counting; optical fibre sensing.