The use of a new technology to monitor pregnancy and delivery is not safe for people with HIV, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
In a report titled “The Importance of Being Present during Pregnancy and Delivery: A Pregnancy-Related Risk Assessment” released by the WHO’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), researchers said the use of the new technology could pose serious health risks to pregnant women.
The device, called a microdilution device (MDD), is designed to collect the urine and saliva from pregnant women to create a “pregnant-specific microdelta” – a small, non-volatile, liquid that is produced when pregnant women swallow and excrete their own urine.
Researchers also found that the MDD is highly sensitive to changes in pH levels during the early stages of pregnancy, and could be used to detect changes in the fetus’s internal temperature and blood pressure, the WHO said.
“Although there is currently no evidence that use of MDDs in pregnancy is associated with increased risk for maternal and neonatal death or morbidity, there is no evidence to suggest that use during pregnancy would be a safe option for pregnant women or their babies,” the report said.
It said the MDDs are “generally regarded as safe and effective in pregnancy, but are not recommended for use during or after pregnancy.”
“It is important to remember that these are just the latest technologies to monitor the health of pregnant women, and do not offer a guarantee of pregnancy-related protection or safety,” the WHO warned.
“The risk of adverse events should be carefully weighed against the risks associated with these technologies and their use, particularly when the risks are not known, and in particular when it is not known whether the use is safe or whether the benefits outweigh the risks.”
“The WHO continues to advocate for all pregnant women and their partners to be fully informed about the health risks associated not only with pregnancy but also with the use and delivery of technologies that may be used during pregnancy,” the agency added.
The use of an MDD in the context of monitoring the mother’s pregnancy is not recommended by the World Trade Organization, which said in a statement that the device should not be used when there is a risk of harm to the mother or other persons.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also rejected the use for monitoring the delivery of a newborn baby.