ResearchKit powers WebMD’s ambitious pregnancy study


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ResearchKit is being used for a major new large-scale study into pregnancy.
Photo: WebMD

ResearchKit has another useful trick up its sleeve: monitoring pregnancies.

WebMD has just relaunched its iOS Pregnancy app — and this time it’s integrated ResearchKit technology for a long term research study into the factors which lead to positive pregnancy outcomes.

The initiative is being carried out alongside Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI), and will involve questions being asked of users, who can then share the results for analysis by researchers.

“Pregnant women are one of the least studied populations in medical research,” said Dr. Eric Topol, director of STSI and editor-in-chief of Medscape. “The results of our Healthy Pregnancy Study — on the foundation of an exceptionally popular smartphone app — will ultimately provide expectant mothers, researchers, and health care professionals with new medical insights to avoid complications during pregnancy.”

Participants in the Healthy Pregnancy Study will be asked to share information about medication use, vaccinations they may have received during pregnancy, pre-existing conditions, blood pressure and weight change, diagnoses during pregnancy, childbirth location, and more. They’ll also be able to share biometric data, such as the number of steps they take in a certain timeframe, their sleep patterns, and more.

After the birth of their children, participants will then be asked to share additional information, such as the birth size of their child and information about any interventions that took place. Cross-referencing this information may help reveal new insights into pregnancy that can help researchers and, ultimately, parents-to-be.

In return, the app will give users visualizations of their data trends throughout pregnancy, and later allow users to compare their data with that of other pregnant women who share their traits.

If you’re interested in the app, you can download it for free here.