A couple of weeks ago, Sky News asked me to have a bit of a chat with them about pregnancy and parenting, and how apps have changed things in the last few years.
And there’s no doubt that things HAVE changed. Since having the Wee Man five years ago, the app market has moved on considerably, with new apps arriving regularly on the scene. Five years ago, there weren’t that many to choose from. Now there are an overwhelming number of them!
So with that in mind, here are my top five choices for pregnancy and birth apps – the ones that I’ve found most useful throughout my latest pregnancy with Little B:
This app from Health & Parenting has some of the best images I’ve seen, with the option of seeing graphical illustrations, 2D and 3D scans for each week of pregnancy. I’ve tried various different pregnancy tracking apps and the images on this one really stood out – I loved looking at how my baby was growing each week of my pregnancy and taking pictures of my bump to go alongside them too.
The app also has some really useful guides for things like what to eat, and exercising for example. Although this was my third pregnancy I did find there were still things that I’d forgotten or new questions that came up and the app was great for that – it contains a lot of information and also a useful ‘to do’ list and ‘appointment’ function too where I could record what I wanted to know and when I was meant to see my midwife or consultant (I’m terrible for forgetting these things!).
There’s a handy daily information diary with helpful hints and tips – for example, day 228 is ‘shaving your legs’! Random but definitely something requiring consideration when reaching your legs has become a bit of a crazy contortionist experiment.
I found the timeline on the app really useful too – it’s a reminder of what you ideally need to do and when. And the birth planning section is excellent as well – although my birth plan is in general ‘get it out!’ this gave some inspiration as to pretty much everything you might need to think about when writing a somewhat more detailed overview of how you’re hoping and wanting things to go.
On top of that there is a section to record useful phone numbers, hospital bag packing lists, a baby names selector and also a contraction timer – I used this during my labour and it was great for reassuring me that I wasn’t going mad and they were indeed coming very regularly!
It’s a really comprehensive app and I wish it had been around for my first pregnancy – it’s a lovely way to guide yourself through pregnancy and all the questions, information, wonder, amazement, and things to remember that go with it.
A diary of what is going on for both the baby and your body, week by week – alongside some awesome 3D illustrations.
The option to take a photographic record of your growing bump.
And there is also the option to track your weight (I think that’s more of an American thing…) and record appointments; as well as to-do lists, a kick counter and contraction timer.
Plus, when your little one arrives you can move on to using the Sprout Baby app, which again offers the opportunity to record all your milestones and track just about everything, including pooing, feeding and sleeping. Which is basically what newborns do!
It’s perhaps not quite so comprehensive or so English as Pregnancy +, but I do like the way that the app is easily navigated and the information displayed is simple and pleasing to the eye.
Shopping for babies can be a bit overwhelming. There is so much stuff out there! Equally, you might suddenly realise you want something, and you want it right now…
The Mothercare app lets you browse, compare and order on-the-go, with items delivered next day in the click of a few buttons (it might not be ‘right now’ but it’s pretty close!). There’s also a barcode scanner for price checking simply, and a ‘pregnancy week by week’ feature that details how your pregnancy is progressing. ‘Mothercare TV’ offers informational videos on a whole variety of relevant topics, and there are checklists for just about every conceivable situation too – from hospital bags to trying to get some sleep once your baby has arrived. Plus there’s also a name generator, with the option to pick random names by shaking your phone. That’s sure to be a winner in the ‘how I got my name’ stakes once little ones are older!
Foods to avoid when pregnant
It’s a pretty rubbish name but it gets the point across. I lost count of the times I was out, at work or in a restaurant and then the (probably quite unnecessary) panic would hit – was that cheese on the banned list? Would Sea Bass hurt my baby? This app has an easily browseable list of everything that’s best avoided, as well as guidelines for safely cooking the things that CAN be eaten. If you’re a pregnancy panicker it’s a great app to have on hand.
Baby Names by Shatzisoft
There are quite a lot of baby names apps available and I had a look at a few of them, but this is definitely my favourite. It has a database of over 60,000 names – kind of daunting when you have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what to call your new little one. We had one boy and one girl name picked before becoming parents and we’d used both of those already so third time round we were completely clueless as to what to choose and couldn’t agree on anything either. Luckily the 60,000 names can be sorted by gender, origin, meaning and popularity which simplifies things a bit – and you can create a favourites list too. We were still browsing our list on my way to hospital to give birth!