When you’re pregnant you think about all of the women in the world who are pregnant at the very same time. You wonder how many women are due on the same day you are, how their pregnancies are going, and if they’re in the Third World how that might mean sporadic or non-existent medical care. Then you think about how crazy it is to live in the States–it’s not Canada, but still–to live here and to see the doctor every month, to hear your baby’s heart.

The sound of it is like eating Cream of Wheat on the first snowy morning or jumping into a pile of towels straight from the dryer. And you want every pregnant women everywhere to hear her baby’s heart, too.

I was surprised to read this on the Design Observer, but it seems like that may begin to be possible thanks to a new hand-cranked Freeplay fetal heart monitor:

…a fetal heart rate monitor whose robust form and hyper-simple interface are combined with sophisticated Doppler ultrasound technology that allows rural healthcare workers to track the cardiac response of babies in the womb and during birth. One minute of cranking by hand generates enough battery life for 10 minutes of use. A numerical display indicates the fetal heart rate, while an audio component amplifies the actual sound — a double indication of whether or not the baby is in distress.

Read all about it here.

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