Pregnancy – there’s an app for that

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 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!

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