WO2009024923A2 - System for relieving pregnancy related discomfort - Google Patents

System for relieving pregnancy related discomfort Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2009024923A2
WO2009024923A2 PCT/IB2008/053314 IB2008053314W WO2009024923A2 WO 2009024923 A2 WO2009024923 A2 WO 2009024923A2 IB 2008053314 W IB2008053314 W IB 2008053314W WO 2009024923 A2 WO2009024923 A2 WO 2009024923A2
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
light emitting
emitting means
system according
activity
system
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IB2008/053314
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2009024923A3 (en
Inventor
Margreet De Kok
Original Assignee
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to EP07114788.8 priority Critical
Priority to EP07114788 priority
Application filed by Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. filed Critical Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
Publication of WO2009024923A2 publication Critical patent/WO2009024923A2/en
Publication of WO2009024923A3 publication Critical patent/WO2009024923A3/en

Links

Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, e.g. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F5/00Orthopaedic methods or devices for non-surgical treatment of bones or joints; Nursing devices; Anti-rape devices
    • A61F5/01Orthopaedic devices, e.g. splints, casts or braces
    • A61F5/03Corsets or bandages for abdomen, teat or breast support, with or without pads
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61NELECTROTHERAPY; MAGNETOTHERAPY; RADIATION THERAPY; ULTRASOUND THERAPY
    • A61N5/00Radiation therapy
    • A61N5/06Radiation therapy using light
    • A61N5/0613Apparatus adapted for a specific treatment
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61NELECTROTHERAPY; MAGNETOTHERAPY; RADIATION THERAPY; ULTRASOUND THERAPY
    • A61N5/00Radiation therapy
    • A61N5/06Radiation therapy using light
    • A61N2005/0635Radiation therapy using light characterised by the body area to be irradiated
    • A61N2005/0643Applicators, probes irradiating specific body areas in close proximity
    • A61N2005/0645Applicators worn by the patient
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61NELECTROTHERAPY; MAGNETOTHERAPY; RADIATION THERAPY; ULTRASOUND THERAPY
    • A61N5/00Radiation therapy
    • A61N5/06Radiation therapy using light
    • A61N2005/065Light sources therefor
    • A61N2005/0651Diodes
    • A61N2005/0652Arrays of diodes
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61NELECTROTHERAPY; MAGNETOTHERAPY; RADIATION THERAPY; ULTRASOUND THERAPY
    • A61N5/00Radiation therapy
    • A61N5/06Radiation therapy using light
    • A61N2005/065Light sources therefor
    • A61N2005/0651Diodes
    • A61N2005/0653Organic light emitting diodes

Abstract

The invention relates to a system for relieving pregnancy related discomfort, such as abdominal pain, pelvis pain, striae and/or the like. The system comprises a wearable structure, designed to be worn against a pregnant body, preferably so as to support at least parts thereof. The wearable structure is provided with light emitting means, arranged to expose at least part of said pregnant body to phototherapeutic treatment.

Description

System for relieving pregnancy related discomfort

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a system for relieving pregnancy related discomfort, such as abdominal pain, pelvis pain, striae and/or the like.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

During pregnancy the female body undergoes substantial changes, often accompanied by substantial discomfort. For instance, to create space for the expanding uterus, baby and placenta the intestinal organs are gradually displaced and the abdominal wall is stretched. The latter may cause striae distensae, i.e. linear dermal scars, which may be accompanied by epidermal atrophy. Furthermore, the body produces increased concentrations of relaxin, a hormone that helps to relax joints in the pelvis. Unfortunately, it may also cause inflammation and pain in other body joints. To prepare the body for delivery of the child, the abdominal muscles are weakened. Due to stretching of the abdominal muscles, they may lose their ability to sustain body posture. Consequently, the lower back has to take on extra torso weight, which in many cases leads to lower back pain and pelvis pain as the pregnancy progresses.

To alleviate the above mentioned discomfort, belt-like support systems are known, which can be worn by a pregnant woman, so as to provide support to the abdominal muscles and/or pelvis muscles. A need exists for a system that can even further alleviate the aforementioned discomfort.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To that end, a system according to the invention comprises a wearable structure that is designed to be worn against and preferably support a woman's pregnant body, and that is provided with light emitting means, arranged to subject at least part of said body to phototherapeutic treatment, i.e. by exposing said body part to light of (a) predetermined wavelength(s) and intensity, during a predetermined amount of time. The wavelength may be selected in dependence of the body part to be treated and/or the desired penetration depth. Suitable wavelengths may for instance range from about 300 nm to about 1200 nm. The light intensity and exposure time will together determine the exposure dose.

Suitable values may be selected dependent on the purpose and/or object of the treatment.

Thanks to phototherapeutic treatment pain and stress can be relieved, such as for instance muscular pain, stiffness of the joints, inflammation of the skin or joints, etc. The phototherapeutic treatment can furthermore enhance blood perfusion, which helps to support the muscles, for instance the ones in the abdomen wall. It can also stimulate cell proliferation and fibroblasts which help to produce collagen. This can help to repair damaged tissue, such as striae caused during expansion of the skin. Thus, the system according to the invention can help to relief all sorts of discomfort that are known to accompany the pregnancy. The system can also be used during labour, to help to reduce pain and relax, in order to make contractions better bearable.

According to one aspect of the invention, the light emitting means may be selected to cover a wide range of wavelengths, allowing the wavelength of emitted light to be selected according to the purpose, object and/or necessary penetration depth of the treatment. For instance, when treating the skin of the abdominal wall the wavelength may vary between about 300 nm and 500 nm, When treating the muscles of the abdominal wall the wavelength may be larger, for instance between about 400 nm and 1000 nm, so as to achieve a larger penetration depth.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the light emitting means may be arranged to have their intensity, exposure mode (e.g. pulsed or continuously), exposure time and/or other parameter that may be relevant for the phototherapeutic treatment varied, in accordance with the envisioned purpose of the treatment and/or the body part(s) to be treated. According to another aspect of the invention, the wearable structure may for instance be designed as or form part of a belt or a garment, such as a body suit or hose. As such, the structure can provide for continuous support of the pregnant body, in particular the abdominal muscles and/or pelvis muscles, even when the light emitting means are switched off.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, the light emitting means may comprise a single light source, arranged to radiate a specific body part, for instance the abdominal wall. Alternatively, the light emitting means may comprise a plurality of light sources, which may be distributed along the wearable structure according to some predetermined pattern. These light sources may be controllable individually or per cluster, so as to allow treatment of specific body parts. According to another aspect of the invention, the light emitting means may be of flexible or semi- flexible design in such way that they can conform to the pregnant body and provide for a comfortable fit.

The light emitting means may for instance be made of photonic textile. Such photonic textile can for instance be realized by mounting one or more light sources on a conductive textile, i.e. a textile provided with a pattern of conductive fibers, or on a flexible substrate that is provided with a printed circuit board._Alternatively, photonic textile can be realized by connecting a flexible light guiding material, such as for instance PDMS (polydimethyl siloxane), to one or more external light sources, which may for instance be mounted on a convenient location of the wearable structure. The light sources may for instance be LEDs, OLEDs (organic light emitting diode) and/or Halogens. Alternatively, the photonic textile can be realized by one or more flexible OLEDs featuring a flexible substrate, e.g. a flexible foil. An advantage of such OLEDs is that they can emit substantially homogenous light over their entire light emitting area. This light emitting area can be easily customized in size and shape, so as to radiate large or small areas. The brightness can be adjusted by changing the supply current or voltage. The wavelength spectrum can be varied by dedicated material design. Of course, all sorts of combinations of the aforementioned embodiments are possible, wherein the photonic textile comprises one or more light sources, conductive textile, flexible light guiding material and/or one or more flexible OLEDs. The light emitting means may be arranged to be operated manually, for instance by the pregnant woman or medical staff. To that end, the system may comprise an interface, allowing selection from a number of pre-programmed phototherapy treatments and/or adjustment of relevant phototherapy parameters, such as wavelength, exposure time, intensity, etc.. According to another aspect of the invention, the light emitting means may be operated by maternal or fetal activity, such as contractions or other motions. To that end the light emitting means can be designed to be activated by any pressure change or mechanical deformation that accompanies said maternal and/or fetal activity. Alternatively, the system may be provided with a detection unit, capable of detecting fetal and/or maternal activity. This information can then be sent to a control unit, which on the basis thereof may activate the light emitting means. In either case, the light emitting means may be operated to radiate the maternal body part in which activity is detected, from the moment that such activity occurs. Accordingly, the effectiveness of the phototherapy can be enhanced, as it allows the treatment to be exercised at the right time and place. In further elaboration, the detection unit may be designed to discern fetal activity from maternal activity. Generally, fetal activity, such as hick-ups, a kick of a hand, arm, leg or head, will generate a local pressure change. Pressure changes caused by maternal activity, on the other hand, will generally cover a larger area. Breathing, for instance, will generate pressure changes over the entire abdomen area. Contractions will generate pressure changes covering the entire uterus area. Accordingly, by monitoring said pressure changes over the entire relevant area and by comparing the measurement results it is possible to distinguish pressure changes caused by fetal activity from pressure changes caused by maternal activity. According to yet another aspect of the invention, the sensor unit may be arranged to detect maternal uterine activity, such as for instance Braxton-Hicks contractions. These are contractions that prepare the uterus for the labour of delivery. They start occurring from around the sixth week of pregnancy and may become painful and distressing after midpregnancy. During contraction, the flexibility of the uterus is considerably reduced. This can be detected by known, non- invasive detection techniques, such as for instance EMG (electromyography) or EHG (elektrohysterogram). This information can then be used to control the light emitting means appropriately, so as to reduce any discomfort caused by said contractions. Of course, using the aforementioned interface, the pregnant woman can also operate the light emitting means herself when the contractions become disturbing. According to a further aspect of the invention the light emitting means can be used to visualize fetal activity such as kicks and/or other spatial movements of the baby to the outside world. To that end, the light emitting means may light up whenever such fetal activity is detected. Alternatively, the aforementioned interface may be equipped with visual and/or acoustic communication means, which may be activated when fetal activity is detected. Thus the system according to the invention can serve as a communication means between the unborn baby and the outside world, which may have an entertainment component, but may have a more serious component as well, in that it allows the father to bond with his unborn child.

Further advantageous embodiments of a system according to the present invention are set forth in the dependent claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

To explain the invention, exemplary embodiments thereof will hereinafter be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein: FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of a system according to the invention, in the form of a support belt; and

FIG. 2 shows the system of Figure 1, worn by a pregnant woman.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

Figures 1 and 2 schematically show a system 1 according to the invention, comprising a wearable structure 2 which in the illustrated embodiment is shaped as a belt. As best seen in Figure 2, this wearable structure 2 can be worn around the belly and back of a pregnant woman, so as to support said body parts, especially the back, abdominal muscles and the pelvis muscles.

The inner side of the wearable structure 2 is provided with light emitting means 3. These light emitting means 3 may for instance be made of flexible, photonic textile, which may for instance comprise a plurality of light sources 5, such as LEDs or halogen lamps, which may be arranged in a matrix and be interconnected by a conductive textile 4. Alternatively, the photonic textile may comprise a flexible substrate 104 of light guiding material, such as for instance PDMS. This substrate 104 may extend along at least part of the inner surface of the wearable structure 2 and may be linked to one or more light sources 105, such as aforementioned LEDs or Halogen lamps. These light sources may be mounted at a suitable location, for instance near a power supply 8 of the system 1. The light emitted by the or each light source 105 is coupled into the flexible substrate 104 and guided to body parts to be radiated.

Alternatively, the photonic textile may include one or more flexible OLEDs 205, which may be arranged at strategic locations around the wearable structure 2 so to radiate at least part of the back and/or front of the pregnant body. In any instance, the light emitting means 3 are preferably selected so as to be able to emit a wide range of wavelengths, preferably ranging from about 300 nm to about 1200 nm.

The wearable structure 2 may furthermore comprise a detection unit 10, for detecting maternal and/or fetal activity. The unit 10 may for instance make use of differential pressure measurements, to distinguish between fetal and maternal activity. To that end, the unit 10 may comprise several pressure sensors 11, mounted at strategic locations around the belt 2. Furthermore, a control unit 12 may be provided, to analyse the data received from the sensors and to control, on the basis thereof, the light emitting means 3, for instance by activating the light emitting means at locations where the measured pressure is maximum or exceeds a certain preset value. According to an alternative embodiments, the light emitting means 3 may be arranged to be activated by the fetal and/or maternal activity itself. To that end, the aforementioned conductive textile 4 may for instance include conductive yarns that deform under influence of maternal or fetal activity, so as to contact each other locally, thereby forming a conductive path leading to activation of one or more light sources connected thereto (similar to the principle of touch screens). In case where the photonic textile makes use of light guiding material 104, the refractive index of this material can be made to change under influence of pressure applied thereon. Accordingly, outcoupling of light will take place at the spot where pressure (due to fetal or maternal activity) is applied. In case where the photonic textile makes use of OLEDs 205, each OLED may be mounted on two sheets of conductive material, separated from each other by a spacer, to prevent current from flowing. If pressure is applied (due to fetal or maternal activity), the distance between the sheets will be decreased thereby allowing a current flow (over the entire area of the sheets) to activate the OLED 205 over its entire area. The system 1 may furthermore comprises an interface 7 allowing communication between the user and the system 1 , and a power supply 8 for powering the respective energy consuming components. This power supply 8 may for instance include a bendable rechargeable lithylene battery.

The system 1 can be used in several ways. According to a first operating mode, the light emitting means 3 may be activated by the pregnant woman or a medical staff member via the interface 7. They may for instance activate the light emitting means 3 or select a special pre-programmed phototherapy program. The interface 7 may furthermore allow selection of the type of light (e.g. visible, IR, etc.) or a particular wavelength or range, the intensity, exposure time, etc. Accordingly, it may for instance be possible to set the light emitting means 3 to emit IR- light (with a wavelength of for instance between about 780 and 2000 nm) with a dose of 24 mW/cm2 during about 15 to 20 minutes. Such treatment has been proven effective to relieve pain. The IR light can promote blood perfusion and the concomitant heating effect can relax the muscles. It may furthermore re-energize tired muscles and reduce stress in for instance the back and the pelvis. Alternatively, if the system 1 is to provide skin support, the light emitting means 3 may for instance be set to emit light with a wavelength of about 630-670 nm, 790 nm and/or 830 nm, with intensities of about 2 to 4 J. cm"2. Of course, many other settings are possible, depending on the intended treatment. The aforementioned values are for illustrative purposes only. They are not to be construed as limiting. According to a more advanced operating mode, it may be possible to select one or more specific light emitting means 3 or a cluster of light emitting means to be activated, thereby allowing the user to select which body part is to be treated with phototherapy. It is noted that with the aforementioned manual operation option, the system can do without the detection unit 10.

According to yet another operating mode, the light emitting means 3 may be activated by the control unit 12, based on information obtained from the detection unit 10. As explained above, this unit 10 may for instance detect particular maternal activity, known to be accompanied by pain, distress or discomfort, such as for instance Braxton Hicks contractions. Based on this information, the control unit 12 can activate those light emitting means 3 that can radiate the body part in which the activity occurs, for instance the uterus. Said body part can then receive an appropriate phototherapy treatment, to relax the muscles and reduce the pain.

According to a further operating mode, the detection unit 10 may be capable of detecting fetal activity. A pressure increase at a specific spot may for instance be interpreted as a movement of the fetus. On basis of this information, the control unit 12 may activate the light emitting means 3 to light up in order to visualize the baby's movements to bystanders.

The invention is not in any way limited to the exemplary embodiments presented in the description and drawing. All combinations (of parts) of the embodiments shown and described are explicitly understood to be incorporated within this description and are explicitly understood to fall within the scope of the invention. Moreover, many variations are possible within the scope of the invention, as outlined by the claims.

Claims

CLAIMS:
1. A system for relieving pregnancy related discomfort, the system comprising a wearable structure, designed to be worn against a pregnant body, and provided with light emitting means, arranged to expose at least part of said pregnant body to phototherapeutic treatment.
2. System according to claim 1, wherein the light emitting means are of flexible design.
3. System according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the light emitting means are made of photonic textile .
4. System according to claim 3, wherein the photonic textile comprises at least one light source, connected to conductive textile or a conductive flexible substrate.
5. System according to claim 3 or 4, wherein the photonic textile comprises at least one light source, connected to flexible light guiding material.
6. System according to anyone of the preceding claims, wherein the light emitting means comprise at least one flexible organic light emitting diode (OLED).
7. System according to anyone of the preceding claims, wherein the light emitting means are activated by fetal and/or maternal activity.
8. System according to anyone of the preceding claims, wherein the light emitting means are activated to radiate those locations where maternal and/or fetal activity occurs.
9. System according to anyone of the preceding claims, comprising a detection unit for detecting fetal and/or maternal activity.
10. System according to claims 9, wherein the detection unit is arranged to detect maternal uterine activity, such as Braxton-Hicks contractions.
11. System according claim 9 or 10, comprising a control unit, for controlling the light emitting means based on information received from the detection unit.
12. System according to anyone of the preceding claims, wherein the light emitting means are operated to visualize fetal activity to the outside world.
PCT/IB2008/053314 2007-08-22 2008-08-19 System for relieving pregnancy related discomfort WO2009024923A2 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
EP07114788.8 2007-08-22
EP07114788 2007-08-22

Publications (2)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO2009024923A2 true WO2009024923A2 (en) 2009-02-26
WO2009024923A3 WO2009024923A3 (en) 2009-04-16

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PCT/IB2008/053314 WO2009024923A2 (en) 2007-08-22 2008-08-19 System for relieving pregnancy related discomfort

Country Status (1)

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Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP2720657A4 (en) * 2011-06-14 2015-07-15 Childrens Hosp Medical Center Devices and treatment methods for vascular eye di

Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2001003751A2 (en) * 1999-07-09 2001-01-18 Cornell Research Foundation, Inc. Rem sleep augmentation with extra-ocular light
US20020143373A1 (en) * 2001-01-25 2002-10-03 Courtnage Peter A. System and method for therapeutic application of energy
US6596016B1 (en) * 1997-03-27 2003-07-22 The Board Of Trustees Of The Leland Stanford Junior University Phototherapy of jaundiced newborns using garments containing semiconductor light-emitting devices
WO2004052238A2 (en) * 2002-12-10 2004-06-24 University Of Florida Phototherapy bandage
US20060282134A1 (en) * 2005-06-10 2006-12-14 Shapiro Ronald S Photo-thermal therapeutic device
WO2007047892A1 (en) * 2005-10-20 2007-04-26 Light Sciences Oncology, Inc. External wearable light therapy treatment systems

Patent Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6596016B1 (en) * 1997-03-27 2003-07-22 The Board Of Trustees Of The Leland Stanford Junior University Phototherapy of jaundiced newborns using garments containing semiconductor light-emitting devices
WO2001003751A2 (en) * 1999-07-09 2001-01-18 Cornell Research Foundation, Inc. Rem sleep augmentation with extra-ocular light
US20020143373A1 (en) * 2001-01-25 2002-10-03 Courtnage Peter A. System and method for therapeutic application of energy
WO2004052238A2 (en) * 2002-12-10 2004-06-24 University Of Florida Phototherapy bandage
US20060282134A1 (en) * 2005-06-10 2006-12-14 Shapiro Ronald S Photo-thermal therapeutic device
WO2007047892A1 (en) * 2005-10-20 2007-04-26 Light Sciences Oncology, Inc. External wearable light therapy treatment systems

Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP2720657A4 (en) * 2011-06-14 2015-07-15 Childrens Hosp Medical Center Devices and treatment methods for vascular eye di

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