What just happened? There have been numerous reports of the Apple Watch's health features saving people's lives, but this case is slightly different. A woman flying from Utah to Hawaii gave birth 11 weeks early while the plane was over the ocean. Several items on the flight were used to keep the baby stable, including Apple's popular wearable.
As if giving birth on a flight isn't unusual enough, Lavinia Mounga didn't even realize she was pregnant, making her trip from Salt Lake City to Honolulu on April 28 particularly memorable. AppleInsider reports that Mounga was lucky in that a physician and three nurses trained to care for premature babies were on the plane.
"None of the equipment we have was suitable for a premature baby, and this baby was born at 29 weeks instead of the normal 40 weeks, right?" said Dr. Dale Glenn, a family physician at Straub Medical Center. "So we made baby warmers out of bottles that were microwaved. We used an Apple Watch to measure the heart rate."
Mounga and her newborn were taken to Kapiolani Medical Center for monitoring once the plane touched down in Hawaii. “If they weren’t there, I don’t think he would be here, so I’m very blessed,” she said.
You might find it surprising that the Apple Watch is able to register a baby's heartbeat, but even older version were capable of the task. Here's a video of parents using an Apple Watch Sport to send their newborn's heartbeat to distant family members.
Earlier this year, the Apple Watch's Emergency SOS was credited with saving a man's life after he fell through some ice. In 2019, its fall detection ability was able to summon emergency services when a man collapsed and fractured his skull, and there have been plenty of cases of the device detecting unknown heart conditions.
A future version of the Apple Watch could pack even more health-focused features. A recent SEC filing suggests the company will add non-invasive sensors to the wearable that measure blood glucose (for diabetics), pressure, and alcohol levels.