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The beat goes on: helping mums bond with their unborn child

21 November 2018
PetiteBeat pillow lets pregnant mums and bubs feel and hear each other’s heartbeat
Three University of Sydney Design students who have created an invention to aid parent-child bonding during pregnancy will soon launch their start-up business, PetiteBeat.

PetiteBeat is a pillow designed to strengthen the emotional bonding by allow pregnant women – and their babies – hear and feel each other’s heartbeat from inside the womb.

It then doubles as a sleep aid for newborn babies, allowing parents to record their own heartbeat for the baby to snuggle up to for comfort at nap times.

For Franziska Seehuber and her co-founders Jessica Watts and Anna Natlacen, their invention was driven by a desire to solve a very personal problem for many expecting parents – a perceived inability to bond with their unborn child.

Answering a project brief on ‘patient centric care’ and ‘destigmatizing mental health’ promoted by Westmead Hospital, the students found that 40 per cent of 800 surveyed pregnant women said they were struggling to connect with their unborn baby.

One expectant mother was quoted as saying she feared whether she would be able to love the child once it was born.

The three students devised PetiteBeat in response to  the topic ‘Design for Wellbeing’ while undertaking the Design Thinking course at the School of Architecture, Design and Planning.

This project is a true example of how taking on a human-centred perspective can lead to the design of a highly desirable concept.
Dr Naseem Ahmadpour Lecturer Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts, Design Lab

“We did a lot of user research with pregnant women  to find out their needs and issues during pregnancy. We came up with over 40 ideas to solve their problems and went through the whole design thinking process until we shaped our final idea,” said Franziska Seehuber.

PetiteBeat was so successful that the team were recognised by the University of Sydney’s Student Innovation Challenge , Sydney Genesis Start Up Program and the business accelerator program Class 12 Incubate.  As a result, the students are poised to launch their start-up business.

“This project is a true example of how taking on a human-centred perspective can lead to the design of a highly desirable concept that fosters true needs of expecting parents and contributes to their wellbeing.” Said Dr Naseem Ahmadpour Lecturer Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts, Design Lab at the School of Architecture, Design and Planning.

Sally Quinn

Media and PR Adviser (Creative Arts)

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