App Study Looks To Uncover The Patterns of Pregnancy Symptoms

Fatigue, backache, insomnia – these are just a few of the common symptoms experienced by pregnant women. However, little research has been done to investigate when these symptoms occur during pregnancy and how they interact with each other. Recognizing the need for a better understanding of these symptoms, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from FAU used a massive dataset from a pregnancy app to shed light on this topic.

Pregnant woman using her phone

Pregnancy is a unique experience for every woman, but there are common symptoms that nearly all women face. Fatigue, backache, constipation, trouble sleeping, and shortness of breath are just a few examples. Through the research project SMART Start, led by Prof. Dr. Björn Eiskofier, the team aimed to improve antenatal care and treatment options by delving into the background and progression of these symptoms.

The project brings together experts from various fields, including machine learning, obstetrics and gynecology, health management, and theology and ethics. By analyzing a large dataset from the popular German pregnancy app Keleya, the researchers gained valuable insights. The app allows expectant mothers to track their symptoms and receive personalized information and content.

Among the most common symptoms reported by app users, fatigue ranked at the top, selected by 92.9% of users. This was followed by backache (92.6%), shortness of breath (81.0%), and trouble sleeping (79.4%). Interestingly, each symptom occurred within a specific timeframe during pregnancy. For example, fatigue peaks in the first trimester, headaches become prominent in the 15th week, and diarrhea is most prevalent in the beginning and end of pregnancy.

Understanding the progression of these symptoms is crucial, as they can have implications for both the expectant mother and the pregnancy itself. Research shows that trouble sleeping is linked to a higher risk of Caesarian section, premature birth, and depression during pregnancy. By analyzing the Keleya dataset, the researchers aim to uncover more about these symptoms and their impact on pregnancy.

The collaboration between Keleya and FAU is a prime example of a successful partnership between industry and research. Keleya provided a large dataset from app users, allowing FAU to gather a better understanding of the topic. A total of 183,732 women participated in the study, tracking their symptoms and generating over 1.5 million recorded symptoms. Such extensive data analysis provides a broader perspective beyond traditional medical studies.

The study not only uncovers patterns in known symptoms but also explores unknown or controversial symptoms and how they progress over time. This research marks a significant step forward in the field, showcasing the power of utilizing sector data for scientific discoveries. Through collaborative efforts, science and industry can work together to advance our understanding of pregnancy symptoms and enhance antenatal care.

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About the author

Lisa Arneill

Founder of Growing Your Baby and World Traveled Family. Canadian mom of 2 boys, photo addict, lover of bulldogs, and museumgoer. Always looking for our next vacation spot!

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