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Bloomlife comes close to exploiting anxieties of pregnant women

Bloomlife could help a small minority of women, but costs way too much for most consumers.

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Complications during pregnancy happen for a surprising number of women, and a new startup called Bloomlife has a solution: a wearable monitor that helps women tell the difference between normal abdominal aches and pains, natural contractions, and signs of complications.

In theory, I like Bloomlife. It's a device that won't help most women -- but it could give the minority who encounter complications the confidence to either relax or seek proper attention. There are two problems with the actual product, though. First, its monthly fees for the monitoring are overpriced: The first month is $150, the second is $100, and subsequent months are $50. Second, Bloomlife doesn't have the FDA certification of a medical device.

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Chris Monroe/CNET

The price problem is the biggest one, simply because most women won't really need Bloomlife. Contractions are a natural step toward delivery, and few women experience them without knowing what they are, or don't notice them. So paying upwards of $300, depending when you start monitoring the pregnancy, seems unnecessary -- especially at a stage of life that is far more financially demanding than most others.

The problem of reliability, by contrast, might not affect as many users, but it could dramatically affect a few. Bloomlife does rely on longitudinal data, gathered over time from the user, so the information it offers is valid. And even with that data, it doesn't purport to offer diagnoses. But users will naturally look to a device like Bloomlife for actionable advice, and without proper third-party testing, it simply isn't equipped to provide such advice.

Bloomlife is available for order now.

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