Friday, October 26th, 2007
AmnioSense: Home-Based Water Breaking Alarm System
This week my wife invented nitrazine underwear. Or, at least she thought of the idea.
She is a labor and delivery nurse. A fair number of pregnant women near their due date arrive at the hospital thinking their water has broken, or as my wife says, they may have experienced a spontaneous rupture of membranes.
So a nurse will take a nitrazine paper strip and insert it into the vagina to gauge the woman’s pH or acidity range, sometimes with the aid of a speculum (that link is for all my male readers). If the strip changes the correct color, it indicates the presence of amniotic fluid. In other words, her water has broken.
However, there are many false alarms. Pregnant women often experience urinary incontinence or mistake the after effects of recent "intimate contact." If it makes everyone feel better, I’ll add that a common cause of incontinence is the baby kicking your bladder. That’s got to be fun.
I imagine the conversation in the hospital room going something like this:
"My water broke!"
"I’m sorry, no, you peed on yourself."
So, my wife’s idea was for near-term women to wear nitrazine-laced panties that would change color, immediately letting you know whether you should rush to the hospital.
Well, someone else already thought of it. Say hello to AmnioSense by Med-Direct (see the photo located above, yeah, I’m writing in reverse-pyramid format today).
It is a panty liner with a built-in testing strip. There are seven steps to using it, but it boils down to wearing the liner for up to 12 hours. When there is wetness, remove a testing strip that is sandwiched in the liner, put it into a pre-supplied plastic drying box, and check its color 10 minutes later.
Med-Direct is a UK-based company, but will ship to the US if you don’t mind our skyrocketing exchange rate. A 2-pack of AmnioSense is only Â£8.50 or 7 go for Â£21.27 before shipping, but as of this writing 1 British pound equals 2 US dollars.
AmnioSense can be bought domestically in a 2-pack from To Be Parents for $26 or 7 for $62 before shipping. I’m curious whether it’s still cheaper to buy it direct from the UK.
Incidentally, I love marketing names. Similar products exist intended for hospitals that often involve a swab and testing paper. They have names such as Amniotest, AmniSure and, my favorite, Amnicator.