Three pregnancy apps: a review of each

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I always like to joke that there’s an app for everything, and pregnancy is no exception. I often mock the fact that there are apps to do anything and everything, including things that we never thought we needed to do. And even though I tease…I do love to track data, especially when it comes to my health and pregnancy. If something comes up, I can easily look back and give facts to the doctor so that she can make a determination of what is going on.

About a month ago, I met the midwife at our practice. I was having these weird electrical pulses in my lower abdomen, and I wanted to be seen. They weren’t Braxton Hicks, and they didn’t hurt, but when I started tracking them and they were occurring multiple times throughout the day, on a daily basis, I noted these symptoms and went in with the data to try to figure out what was going on.

It’s all still a mystery, but she said that this is a time of exponential growth for the baby in the womb, and that means lots of stretching of my muscles, too. She asked me about hydration, and I was honest – I drank only water after my first cup of coffee, but I wasn’t drinking enough, especially for what I was doing – I was working outside in the garden, in the heat. She advised I drink plenty of water. I started being more conscious about my water intake and I began tracking it, and since then, I have not noticed the strange tingling symptoms.

So, as much as I may jest about apps, I really have depended on them throughout my three pregnancies. It’s been super helpful to have a place to access data about the gestational week that I am in, track baby’s growth, and access data about each unique pregnancy.

For my first two pregnancies, I used the What to Expect app.  It was informative for me and allowed me to track my pregnancy and the growing baby inside my belly.  The app in conjunction with the book, Mayo Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, was all I really needed.  

More than anything for my pregnancy with Millie, I had the app so I could answer the question all pregnant mothers get – “What week are you?” because I was not able to keep track myself.  I wanted to project confidence when answering, instead of shrugging my shoulders and saying, “Um… I don’t know?  I’m X or X weeks pregnant?”

This pregnancy, though, I was looking for an app that had more meat and had a kick counter included.  Kick counting wasn’t something that I did with either previous pregnancy – I was happy to feel movement daily throughout the middle to end of each, and didn’t see the need to count them.  

After Millie, I realized the importance, although was afraid to make it a fixation.  Because of this fear, I was hesitant at first to look for an app for kick counting.  I think this will be the easiest way for me to track movements without driving myself crazy, especially since my team of doctors suggested that beginning in week 32 of the pregnancy that I track movements for one hour of the day, at the same time of day.  Right now, I’m just logging occasionally when there are good kicks he’s getting in, so that when I need to choose a time of day I can choose one that will be the most encouraging for me.

Below is my personal opinion on the three apps I downloaded for this pregnancy with Baby Boy:  WebMD, Sprout, and What to Expect.

What to Expect

Depth of information:

Surficial – this is a cutesy app with videos chock full of cheesy puns and information.  If you’re looking for a social, communal experience, want suggestions on what to buy throughout your pregnancy, then this is your app.

Tools available:

Weekly baby updates – including fruit (or movie/tv props or 80s-90s nostalgia) comparisons for size and weight, information about each week for baby and mama, and a video.  

Daily reads, common symptoms, upcoming tests/screenings, and recommended products are also updated weekly throughout the pregnancy.

Pros/Cons:

This was a great app for me when I was pregnant with Mon Cœur (MC) and Millie.  I was able to see how the baby was growing each week, with a comparable fruit/vegetable.  

When trying to use it for a third time, the app did not recognize the third pregnancy and instead asked me if Millie has been born yet.  There was some sort of glitch that did not register the third pregnancy.  It did finally ask me if I needed “to report a loss,“ and I just hadn’t been ready to accept that, I guess.  Now that I have, all information from my pregnancy with Millie is gone, and now it automatically navigates to Baby Boy.

Price:

Free

Overall, this was an excellent app for the first two, easy, uncomplicated, carefree pregnancies.  Chouchou and I enjoyed watching the weekly videos that had the adorable little puns and information, and it helped me keep track of baby’s growing size week by week.  MC enjoyed watching the videos with us for my pregnancy with Millie. It just doesn’t have the tools I need for this pregnancy and the cute factor that was endearing has lost its charm in our third pregnancy. I still really like the homepage where it gives how many weeks and days, because we are taking it day-by-day.

Sprout

Depth of information:

Surficial, bare bones.  There is a tab for “The Doc Says” where you get bite-size tidbits about what is happening throughout the pregnancy – things to look forward to such as ankle swelling, varicose veins, glucose tests.  A weekly update on the baby and its growth for the week is also available.  For the premium app, you can access additional information such as a doctor visit planner, a to do list, newborn essentials checklists, and hospital bag checklist. 

Tools available:

A weekly check in with baby’s growth progress gives 3-4 bits of information about what’s new as well as a fruit size/weight comparison.  “Today’s kick” is a quick article, new every day, about something relevant to the pregnancy – it talks about tests, different symptoms throughout pregnancy.

With the paid app you can access (among other things) a personal journal, 360 degree view of baby, kick counter, contraction counter, and the check lists.

I prefer the journal in Sprout to the journal in WebMD.  The Sprout journal allows me to enter the date and type what I want, while the WebMD journal has different themed chapters like: our big news, my experiences, baby shower, etc. 

Pros/Cons: 

 The tools that I find are essential for this pregnancy are offered free during a 15-day trial and then taken away unless you purchase the app.

I did like that I could specify the gender within this app, and it changed both the information to include just baby’s gender and the picture for the weekly updates to the baby’s gender.

Price:

Free, or $4.99 for premium.  When it downloaded to my phone, it gave me a free trial of the premium app, and after 15 days, it downgraded me.

I liked the tools available during the 15 day trial, although the basic version is super bare bones.  I am not enthusiastic about an app that starts out free, and then strips it down. In emotional economics, they explain the phenomenon of how the “free trial” works…Consumers don’t want to give up something they already have, so they will pay to keep what they had before, whether or not it benefits them or they really use it, because they just don’t want to lose it.  

I grew up in a household where Mom took advantage of the promotional price of tv cable for the trial period, and the day that trial was over was the day we didn’t have cable any more.  I had no problem “dropping” this app after the 15 days, and just hate the feeling of “Gotcha!” so I went looking for another app…Thanks, Mom!

WebMD

Depth of information:

Potentially overwhelming.  They have a wide variety of articles and research that are available to read if you want.  The pregnancy A-Z tab has a lot of well-organized information ranging from Mom’s weekly changes and baby’s weekly changes to outlining information about each doctor’s appointment, discomforts, complications and risks, etc 

Tools available:

Kick counter, contraction timer, symptom tracker, and appointment list with suggested doctor questions.  Other tools include a journal with questions you can answer and the option to add other information, and a spot to keep a weekly belly photo.

Although I prefer the bare bones journal in Sprout, the WebMD journal is actually really nice because it has pre-thought out questions for each chapter.  For example, in the chapter “Our Big News” it has a list of questions like: When did you find out you were pregnant?, Who did you tell first?, What was your first thought when you found out?, etc.  You can take a picture to add to the journal entry and email it to yourself.

Pros/Cons:  

I can’t delete the suggested doctor questions, journal chapters, etc to make the information less bulky.  There really is quite a bit of information – if I could pare it down to just what I need that would be ideal.

I love that it’s free and that all the tools I need are also free. It’s very comprehensive for a free app.

Price:

Free

This app has way more information and journaling features than I will ever be able to make it through in this pregnancy.  But, it does have my kick counter, and I like being able to add questions for the doctor in the app.  I like that there is a contraction timer and symptom tracker.  These aren’t features that I have accessed yet, although I see their usefulness.

If I had to choose just one app to use, I would go with WebMD.  I have used and enjoyed the What To Expect app, which really was quite nice for the first two pregnancies.  The Sprout app I have not accessed or used since the trial ran up and I switched to WebMD Pregnancy app.

What apps have you used for your pregnancy that helped you? What did you most appreciate about the app? I’d love to hear in the comments section!

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