Bachelor's Thesis

Validation of Heart Rate Variability Measurements of Wearable Devices Used Among Pregnant Women

Michael Nissen (M.Sc.), Prof. Dr. Björn Eskofier 

04/2020 – 09/2020


Smartwatches and fitness trackers provide consumers with an accessible way to monitor various
health-related parameters, including their heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) [1].
At the same time, the assessment and monitoring of vital signs is of great interest to the medical
research community [2], as it allows to assess patient’s health development and provides doctors
with more comprehensive insights into their patients’ condition. Therefore, the use of wearables is
particularly interesting in the context of longitudinal medical research studies [3]. This also applies
to the SMART Start project, which aims to improve maternity care through the application of
wearable devices. In this particular setting, it is an additional important goal to determine the
usability of wearable recording technologies among pregnant women, for which only very few
evaluation studies exist and a minimum level of data accuracy needs to be ensured [4].
Thus, the aim of this research is to validate selected consumer devices for longitudinal study use
among pregnant women. Consequently, the research question of this thesis is whether it is possible
to accurately record HR and HRV data with the respective devices and whether a difference exists
to pregnant women for signal or parameter validity.



[1] Duarte Dias and João Paulo Silva Cunha. Wearable Health Devices—Vital Sign Monitoring,
Systems and Technologies. Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), 18(8), August 2018. Publisher:
Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI).
[2] Idar Johan Brekke, Lars Håland Puntervoll, Peter Bank Pedersen, John Kellett, and Mikkel
Brabrand. The value of vital sign trends in predicting and monitoring clinical deterioration:
A systematic review. PloS One, 14(1):e0210875, 2019.
[3] Jessilyn Dunn, Ryan Runge, and Michael Snyder. Wearables and the medical revolution.
Personalized Medicine, 15(5):429–448, September 2018. Publisher: Future Medicine.
[4] David R. Bassett, Alex Rowlands, and Stewart G. Trost. Calibration and validation of wearable
monitors. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 44(1 Suppl 1):S32–38, January 2012.
[5] Jonathan M. Peake, Graham Kerr, and John P. Sullivan. A Critical Review of Consumer
Wearables, Mobile Applications, and Equipment for Providing Biofeedback, Monitoring Stress,
and Sleep in Physically Active Populations. Frontiers in Physiology, 9:743, 2018