Gone are the days when expectant mothers are expected to stay home and focus 100 percent of their time and energy on their pregnancy.
Today, we’re movers and multi-taskers. Sometimes we hold multiple jobs, take on multiple projects, and care for multiple children, all with soon-to-be baby in tow. Chances are, even at times when we feel like we’re in over our heads, we won’t ask for help when we need it.
This is where our smart phones, laptops, iPads come in handy. They are the keeper of our schedules and can also be a convenient way to keep track of the pregnancy process. Here are some apps designed to help us get through.
I’ve used a few of these apps, but also took advice from first-time mother Claire Cole of Brookline on delivery and postpartum apps, since I’m not quite there yet.
WomanLog (Free for basic users) -- I think of this app as the popular book, “Taking Charge of Your Fertility,” meets the iPad. Except easier. Even before the idea of starting a family begins to take shape, this so-called fertility calendar is a seemingly effortless way to learn about your body’s fertility cycle. The app only needs the average menstrual period length and number of days between periods in order to generate a monthly calendar that shows potential fertile days (indicated by a flower leaf on the calendar), and the highest fertility day (indicated by a full flower on the calendar). The app allows users to change the days if a period comes late or early and recalculates accordingly. The program even allows for more accurate estimations by letting users enter their daily body temperature, weight, as well as symptoms and mood.
WomanLog Pregnancy (Free for basic users) – This app is the next step of the WomanLog app series. Users enter the first day of their last menstrual period and the estimated pregnancy due date and a monthly calendar appears with the numbered pregnancy weeks. Each pregnancy week offered a description of what’s going on with the baby, including his or her size and which organs or bodily systems are developing. The app also lets users track their daily or weekly weight, waist size, and symptoms. This app is a great way for the partners who are not pregnant to stay involved in the pregnancy. My husband enjoyed reading what parts of little boomba were forming each week.
Contractions Counter by Aesop ($1.99) – This app is like a stop watch for anxious parents-to-be. Especially for first-timers, the question of when it’s the right time to head to the hospital can be confusing.
“Contractions are like a mind game,” said Cole, mother of 2-month-old Elizabeth Eve. “You don’t want to go into the hospital too early just to turn around and head home.”
With the help of Contraction Counter, Cole said she was able to look over the course of the intervals and see the spacing between her contractions get closer by simply pressing the start button at the onset of contractions, and the stop button when the sequence subsided. Cole could go about her morning and even walk her dog and still be able to accurately count her contractions.
“It gave me something to do instead of just waiting,” said Cole. “It made me feel in control when I was pushing this button.”
Baby Connect ($4.99) – This is one option to e-organize your postpartum care. The app helps caregivers track naps, nursing, diapers, and bottle feedings to keep a newborn on schedule.
“It shows you from day to day the average number of minutes they fed and slept, for example,” said Cole. “It shows you if it’s getting better and if they’re getting enough.”
“At night, you want to see the numbers declining so you know they’re sleeping better,” she said.
The data can also be shared electronically to multiple users, such as fathers, daycare providers, or other caregivers.
Mayo Clinic on Pregnancy (Free) – This unique app for Windows 8 launched in December and provides expert advice at your fingertips. If you’re less into having to enter daily or weekly information about your pregnancy and more into getting trusted answers to questions or tips throughout the journey, this app will keep you thoroughly informed. It combines some of the aspects from other pregnancy apps – i.e. a weekly mother and baby development tracker – but covers pregnancy, birth and up to 12 weeks postpartum. The app provides information from Mayo Clinic experts on everything from prenatal screenings and vaccine safety to postpartum recovery. The app even contains a series of photos on labor exercises, as well as photos to help new mothers identify conditions such as a diaper rash.
What apps have helped you navigate through?
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