Pregnant Costa Mesa woman says Apple Watch alert saved her life during medical emergency

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Saturday, January 21, 2023
Pregnant OC woman says Apple Watch warning saved her life
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A Costa Mesa woman credits her smartwatch with saving her life after she suffered a medical emergency while pregnant.

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) -- A Costa Mesa woman credits her smartwatch with saving her life after she suffered a medical emergency while pregnant.

Jess Kelly relies on her Apple Watch for a lot of things. It keeps track of her steps while out on walks with her newborn Shelby and notifies her of new text messages.

However, on Dec. 17, Kelly was in her 37th week of pregnancy and not feeling well when she got a high heart rate notification on her smartwatch.

It let her know her heart rate had been above 120 beats per minute, while inactive for more than 10 minutes.

Kelly said she got the notification two more times over a half hour period.

"By the third time I thought something is going on, and maybe I should get this looked into," Kelly said

She said she went to the hospital where doctors told her she was suffering a placental abruption, which is when the placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus before birth, and was in labor.

"If I had not listened to the watch I would have stayed home and instead of celebrating her one month of birth we could of possibly been planning, or my husband could have been planning services for either myself, Shelby or maybe even both of us," Kelly said.

Dr. Brian Kim, an electrophysiologist with Providence St. Jude Medical Center, said a normal resting heart rate is between 60 to 100 beats per minute.

He said there are many reasons why someone can have an accelerated heart rate, including dehydration and anxiety.

Kim said smartwatches may be able to detect when something is wrong.

"I think that you can actually save your life by basically following your body and the rhythm from the Apple Watch," he said. "If there's something wrong I think that you should see a doctor immediately."

Kelly plans to keep wearing her watch and will listen to its notifications right away.

Kim said whether or not you own a smartwatch, it is important to listen to your body.