The Eurecat technology centre, Barcelona Provincial Council and start-up Treematernity are to donate hundreds of single-use pregnancy monitoring belts which they have jointly developed to avoid the reuse of traditional belts and the bacterial load that this entails. The aim is to help prevent potential coronavirus infections in hospital mother and baby units.

The belts are called Belty and are being made at Barcelona Provincial Council’s School of Weaving in Canet de Mar. ​​The plan is for Eurecat to produce up to 3,000 units using materials it has supplied. The belts will be donated in the coming days in an operation to be coordinated by the Catalan Ministry of Health.

Treematernity is a Rovira i Virgili University start-up set up by Montse Gasparín, Vanessa Sanz and Mabel Gendre, three midwives who work at Verge de la Cinta Hospital in Tortosa. They have improved the fastening system of the maternal-foetal transducers used to monitor foetuses at various stages of pregnancy. Treematernity and Eurecat have jointly developed the new obstetrics belts and are currently working together on the market rollout of the product, which the start-up has already patented.

More than ten hospitals across Spain have tested the belts. All of them have confirmed their greater effectiveness and hygiene due to their better performance in terms of use, freedom of movement, absence of marks on or injuries to the skin and reduction in the number of readjustments and signal loss time.

External foetal monitoring is the most extensive test in clinical practice to assess foetal wellbeing before and during labour. It records foetal heart rate and uterine dynamics through transducers attached to the mother’s abdomen with rubber bands or straps.

The Belty belt has won awards and recognition including from Tarragona Provincial Council, the Barcelona College of Nursing and the Tarragona College of Nursing along with the Philips-Fame prize for innovation in midwives’ care practice.