Although I’m using the What To Expect app every day I’ve also signed up for emails from the BabyCentre website www.babycentre.co.uk where they give you weekly updates on the development of your baby. BabyCentre is a resource that’s well worth a look. It has easy to read articles that seem to give enough information without being too long. For example, I’ve just been reading up on my pelvic floor muscles as well as the difference between 2D, 3D and 4D scans and caffeine intake during pregnancy. Because I already seem to have a bump I’ve also taken a peek at their articles on twins – trying to work out whether I’m abnormally bloated or perhaps having more than one baby.
You can write a journal on the BabyCentre site as well as get involved with photo clubs and forums so if you are looking to interact with mums-to-be or new mums it looks like a very good place to start. There are many BabyCentre or BabyCenter sites for different countries or regions (and in many languages) so this is a multinational project with a lot of international experts involved in writing the content.
The NCT also provides a free magazine called ‘Bumps & Babies’ which I ordered online. This soon arrived and contains in-depth articles for mums-to-be and new mums. I had a quick look at Tommy’s which is another good site to browse. Tommy’s www.tommys.org is a charity that exists to save babies lives by funding research and providing information on the causes and prevention of miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth. Just like the NCT website, the Tommy’s site is a wealth of information. They have free magazines/leaflets available and I ordered my copy of ‘Your guide to a healthy pregnancy’ which arrived in the post just a few days later and was useful bedtime reading. Reassuringly, Tommy’s offers a helpline staffed by qualified midwives. They clearly understand that pregnant mums don’t always want to phone their local doctor’s surgery if they have a non-urgent query. I’m sure I’ll be coming back to this site!
When I popped into Sainsbury’s (to buy some food for my latest cravings!) I spotted a leaflet at the checkout for the Sainsbury’s Little Ones baby & toddler club www3.sainsburys.co.uk/littleones/ which you can join online. It said something about free Nectar points or freebies from Huggies so I thought I’d give it a go. They also send you free magazines and vouchers so that’s a bonus – I know those vouchers will make a difference once the cost of parenthood sets in and they’ll give me brownie points with Tim!
As you might expect, Sainsbury’s offer recipes and meal planners tailored to pregnant mums, breastfeeding mums, as well as suggestions for feeding babies and toddlers. I didn’t look at the recipes for too long as they made me feel hungry again! Sainsbury’s offer expert advice on their site and have partnered with Netmums www.netmums.com to provide an experienced panel. Netmums are celebrating their 10th anniversary and are the country’s biggest parenting website – so I figure they must know a thing or two about children. A good move by Sainsbury’s to include Netmums.
On a bit of a roll now, I’ve also signed up to the Mothercare Baby & Me Club. www.mothercarebabyandmeclub.com is where you can sign up online or you can just pick up a leaflet in-store. Mothercare are promising offers and information tailored to my stage of the parenting journey. The mum-to-be section covers a variety of topics from kitting myself out with a maternity capsule wardrobe to thinking about travel systems and car seats as well as preparing me for what I’ll need for the hospital etc. It looks like a well-thought out and comprehensive site and I’m sure I’ll be logging in quite often! Meanwhile, my mum and mother-in-law are both drooling over the Spring/Summer Mothercare catalogue…!
Having only recently started to play around with apps on my iPhone I went on the lookout for free pregnancy/conception apps. I came across BabyMed which is an app using fertility and pregnancy calculators by an ObGyn and Maternal-Foetal Medicine specialist in New York. It helps you to predict ovulation and the best days to conceive. Based on this information it will also calculate your due date once you know you are pregnant.
Another free app I downloaded was called iPr. On this app you can enter notes, look at lists of popular babies names and it will also tell you how much your baby is growing amongst other things. I haven’t really used this app much but I’m sure that others could get more out of it.
The app I’ve most looked at is ‘What To Expect’ based on author Heidi Murkoff’s bestseller – What To Expect When You’re Expecting. There’s an accompanying website www.whattoexpect.com which I’ve not used a lot but it looks like a good resource. The WTE app I’ve used every day! It reminds you of your due date, how long you’ve got until then and the gestational age of your baby. Plus it gives you an indicator of how big it is (poppy seed, blueberry, raspberry etc.). Each week it tells you what to expect – what is happening in your body and the baby’s. There are also daily tips, a place to store photos of your pregnant belly and a forum, including one dedicated to mums whose babies are also due the same month.
You can’t post things on the forum using the app (you have to go to the site for that) but I find it helpful to read the forum posts whilst having a cuppa – learning that other pregnant mums are going through the same thing (or having completely different symptoms) is both reassuring and informative. The forum is mainly used by Americans so at times it can be daunting because they all seem to be seeing specialist Ob/Gyn doctors almost as soon as they know they are pregnant and having ultrasounds, blood tests, hormone levels read, baby’s heartbeat monitored etc. etc. Here in the UK, with the NHS to take care of us, no such activity. I have one friend who went to her doctor to say that she was 6 weeks’ pregnant (and to find out what the next step was) and the doctor asked her why she had bothered to come, what did she actually want him to do for her!
Now I think there needs to be a balance between that kind of unnecessary rudeness from a British doctor and the high levels of medical attention received by pregnant American women, but having seen the anxiety caused by all this monitoring in the US – constant posts by worried mothers about whether or not their HCG levels are ok or whether there is something in the baby sac or whether the heartbeat is as it should be – I am convinced that ignorance is bliss. Some of them seem to be taking home pregnancy tests every day just to reassure themselves that they are still pregnant! If a pregnancy doesn’t last then unfortunately that’s nature – really sad as it is. It concerns me that apparently a lot of mums in America stress out over data given to them from Ob/Gyn clinics (and by comparing themselves with what friends and family say happened to them) when most of them will make it to the 12 week milestone and go on to have healthy babies.
One free app I downloaded because it sounded like a really good one for a pregnant lady to have. The charity WaterAid has developed a toilet finder app which shows the nearest public toilets to your location. You can report a toilet i.e. tell them about a toilet you know about if it’s not on their list. I think this app is a really good idea. Whilst as a pregnant woman you are conscious of the inconvenience caused by feeling like you need to empty your bladder all the time, the app reminds you that 2.5 billion people in the world (so almost half the world’s population) don’t have anywhere clean and safe to go to the toilet. Suddenly, getting up in the middle of the night to use my heated and hygienic indoor loo doesn’t seem like so much of a hardship. I hope that this app is a success and that users continue to add free public toilets in their areas as well as supporting the Charity. Thanks for this free app WaterAid – I’m sure pregnant women are grateful!