What causes low quality readings?

A Low Quality Readings session report means the Band was unable to generate a report of Baby and mom’s readings because a majority of readings collected during the session were low quality. This article will help you to learn more about why this might be happening and how to resolve it. We know this is a disappointing result. Most mothers who experience a low quality reading report improvement over time and by following the recommendations in this article. 

Here are the different reasons a Low Quality Readings report may happen:

Short Session Length

The Owlet Band requires a certain amount of high-quality readings before we can confidently generate a report of Baby’s readings. As session time increases our likelihood of receiving sufficient high-quality readings increases. 

  • Make sure that you are wearing your Owlet Pregnancy Band for a minimum of 3 hours of sleeping time.

Incorrect Fabric Sensor Placement

Each sensor needs to make good contact with your skin in order to provide high-quality readings. Check your Band for fit before your session starts: the Band should not shift, wrinkle up, or bunch together as you move. 

  • Make sure all sensors are laying flat. 
  • Ideally, the Band is snug and all the electrodes are making contact with the skin. 
  • The “ground sensor”, which is the lower slightly offset electrode, is the most critical. If this sensor does not make good contact you will not get any readings.
  • Many users have found that wearing snug fabric over the Band helps get better readings. 
    • Ex: yoga pants that pull over the top, a snug tank top, or something similar.
  • If the Band is too loose, try tightening or moving to a smaller size of the Band. You should wear the Band snug, but not so tight that it is uncomfortable for you.
  • When you are laying on your side, if you notice a gap between the top sensors and your skin, try adjusting the Band so that they will touch. This can include placing a pillow under your belly to support it. 
  • Ideally, the Band is worn as low as you can, without making the fabric bunch up. Learn how to put on the Owlet Pregnancy Band

Not Enough Relaxation

The Band is intended for usage while sleeping since that is when you are most relaxed. Muscle noise will make it very difficult to find the fetal heart rate in the ECG waveforms since any muscle movement generates some ECG signals as well. This is why the Band works best while you are sleeping: it is the most noise-free environment to capture the small fetal ECG signals in.  Imagine trying to hear a pin drop at a rock concert—it is a little easier to wait until everyone leaves. Many of our moms see low-quality readings when they first start using the Band.

 Poor Medallion contact with the Band

  • Make sure all the gold pins on the Medallion and small metal circular pads on the Band are clean and free of dust, etc.
  • Please follow this cleaning guide to ensure that the Owlet Pregnancy Band is clean and that the gold colored pins on the back of the Medallion are able to spring up and down. 

Vernix

We are working on improving our algorithm’s ability to pick up high-quality signals when your baby has vernix caseosa, also known as vernix. Vernix is the waxy or cheese-like white substance found coating the skin of newborn human babies. The vernix develops around 27 weeks gestation and is usually shed by 35 weeks. When your baby is covered in vernix, it will dampen electrical signals from the baby, making their readings more difficult to obtain.

  • Most of our testers experience approximately a one-week period where they don't get as good of readings because of the developmental stage their baby is in. The Band has been designed so that we don't emit any electrical signals into the womb. Since we only "listen" to the baby's heartbeat the volume level of the heartbeat is dampened when the baby's chest is covered in thick vernix. Most people notice that their readings start coming back within about a week. 

Baby’s position or other factors

Over 90% of sessions will have a high-quantity of readings from Baby. It is unknown how Baby’s position or the placenta’s position affect readout. Session length, sensor placement, and relaxation are key to achieving high-quality readings.

 

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