Tuesday 18 September 2018

A virtual helping hand through your pregnancy

There are plenty of apps that provide information and advice when you're expecting. Arlene Harris rounds up 15 of the best

Stock image
Stock image

Women have been giving birth since the dawn of time and while we are all perfectly capable (bar complications) of going through labour, who wouldn't want a little guidance to make things a bit easier?

For many years we have become accustomed to the added bonus of medical intervention if things get too tough in the delivery room, and now, thanks to technology, there is a whole ream of tools online to give mums-to-be (and their partners) that extra bit of reassurance and know-how when it comes to welcoming their new arrival into the world.

But as with everything these days, there is just so much choice - so we have taken some of the stress out of it for you by compiling a list of apps which might just add the little something which helps to make your pregnancy and delivery all the more special.

1 Gentle Birth

Tracy Donegan is a midwife, author of The Irish Better Birth Book and founder of gentlebirth.ie - after years of witnessing how her birthing methods have helped would-be mums to prepare for the impending delivery, the Dublin expert moved to Silicon Valley in the US to set up the Gentle Birth app, which aims to help reduce fear and anxiety about the upcoming birth and parenting.

Get it: Irish Life members can now subscribe to the app with a free one-year subscription, while non-members pay €12.99 per month. You can try the app free for seven days for a taste of what's involved and join the private GentleBirth community on Facebook; it has over 10,000 members.

2 Whatsupmum Complete Guide

This free Irish app from whatsupmum.ie offers all the information expectant parents need before their new arrival - practical advice, tips and detailed demonstrations act as a guide throughout pregnancy and delivery.

Developed in partnership with the HSE, the easy-to-use format explains what will happen, what stage your baby is at and what to expect from the delivery. Health care professionals will answer all your questions and provide demonstrations and practical information to help you enjoy your pregnancy to the full.

Get it: Available free from Google Play and the App Store.

3 What to Expect

Although American, this app is one of the most popular amongst Irish mothers-to-be. Filled with easy-to-absorb information for every step of your pregnancy, it does exactly what the name suggests and advises on what women should expect while they are expecting. Based on individual due dates, it will provide personalised information on progress, development, health news and information from pregnancy right through to the toddler years.

Get it: You can get the app free on Android and iPhone devices for iTunes and Google Play.

4 The Bump

This award-winning app delivers information directly from thebump.com to your smartphone. Advice from experts and seasoned parents is tailored to suit each individual and offers tips on what to expect from your doctor or midwife visit, what stage your baby is at developmentally, how to track stages and how to prepare for delivery.

Get it: Download free from iTunes and Google Play.

5 Baby Centre

My Pregnancy and Baby Today is a free app from babycentre.co.uk, offering advice on how your body is changing, how to cope with aches and pains and how to have the healthiest pregnancy possible. It also offers personalised information on your baby's development and matches your due date with other mums-to-be, so you can compare notes and offer encouragement to each other. The app has advice from bump to toddler.

Get it: Download for free on Google Play and iTunes.

6 My Pregnancy

Similarly named to the previous app, this version from BabyCenter has been used by over 400 million parents. The American app claims to be the one-stop-shop for all your pregnancy needs. No question is too big or too small, and they will all be answered by other mothers in the 'Birth Club' through videos and nutrition guides. It is aimed at everyone, whether you are just thinking about getting pregnant, trying to conceive, are already pregnant or are a new parent. It also includes a pregnancy tracker and developmental calendar.

Get it: Available free on the App Store for iOS devices.

7 Life in the Womb

This award-winning visual guide to pregnancy explores your baby's amazing journey from conception to birth and is recommended by Dr Rhona Mahony, previous Master of the National Maternity Hospital. "Life in the womb is beautifully captured in this extraordinary app, which depicts foetal development week by week. Stunning interactive imagery illustrates life's most amazing journey. It is astonishing and anybody interested in pregnancy will love it," she says. With interactive features, illustrations and animations, this app allows parents an insight into the growth and development of their unborn baby.

Get it: Available on iPad from the App Store.

8 Baby Bump Pregnancy

This app will answer all your questions from conception to birth and beyond. Recognised by time.com in the 10 Best Wellness Apps list, it offers interactive 3D imagery of baby's growth, prepares expectant mothers for each doctors' visit, gives real-time answers to every question and has the largest catalogue of product and service reviews available. It also tracks your weight and contractions and records your baby's movements and kicks.

Get it: Available free on the App Store for iOS devices.

9 Happy Pregnancy Ticker

This is a must-have app for anyone who wants to count down to D-Day. Created by a father-to-be to help his wife through her pregnancy, it has many useful tools including a graph to keep track of weight gain, a baby-kick recorder, a due-date calculator, weekly information and a timer to count and catalogue contractions.

It also offers a discussion forum where expectant mums can chat to each other about their progress.

Get it: Available free on the App Store for iOS devices.

10 Wellness for Two

This app from wellnessfor2.com offers all the advice you need to have the healthiest pregnancy possible - for both you and your baby. With health tips and tracking tools, the app helps you to be aware of your weight, waist measurements, diet, water intake and any symptoms which may need to be addressed.

It also records baby's kicks, has a contraction timer and offers a packing checklist and advice on how to care for your new baby.

Get it: Available free on the App Store for iOS devices.

11 Pregnancy

Voted the world's most popular pregnancy app, this appeals to parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and anyone else who wants to know how their loved-one's pregnancy is progressing. Offering step-by-step information, baby shopping list, kick counter and contraction timer, the beautifully illustrated app also has thousands of baby name suggestions.

Get it: Available to download from Google Play.

12 Who's your Daddy

This app from whosyourdaddy.com is designed to help men deal with their partner's pregnancy. Promising humour and easy-to-understand language, the programme will allow dads to understand what is happening during the growth of their unborn child, help them to feel more involved and armed with the necessary information, be able to support their partner to the best of their ability.

Get it: With daily tips, weekly updates, timelines and extra tools, the app, which costs 'the price of a small beer', is available on Google Play and the App Store.

13 Baby Bag

To seasoned parents, what to pack in your hospital bag might seem obvious, but would-be mothers often struggle to decide what is necessary. Not only does it offer advice on what to pack for both delivery and post-birth, but also allows you to input what you have already packed while keeping a track and reminding you of anything you have forgotten.

Get it: Available to download for free from the App Store.

14 Dr Contraction Timer

This app does exactly what it says and is designed specifically to help keep track of contractions during labour with advice on how to measure, calculate and record the length and frequency of your contractions. It stores this information as well as essentials such as hospital directions and local taxi company numbers.

Get it: Available to download from the App Store.

15 Baby Names of Ireland

Irish names have changed a lot over the decades and for anyone wanting to choose a traditional or even unusual name for their baby, this is just the ticket. Created by the CSO, this visualisation tool offers separate lists of boys and girls names dating from 1964 to the present day, detailing everything from the most popular to the most obscure.

Get it: For more information, visit cso.ie/en/interactivezone/visualisationtools/babynamesofireland

Irish Independent

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