As a mom-to-be, it’s likely you’ve discovered a number of apps that make it easier to manage
your health by offering everything from weight and activity tracking to help counting and timing your contractions.
Many apps focus on a single feature, such as calculating due dates. Others specialize in addressing a single health need, such as planning for multiple births or managing gestational diabetes.
There are literally thousands of them!
So how do you know which are right for you?
Here are some helpful tips:
Check out pregnancy apps offered by credible health organizations
Several medical societies and associations are reputable sources of pregnancy apps. These include:
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) app: Features a due-date calendar that’s based on clinical guidelines.
- Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO) app: Focuses only on nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
- Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) app: Aims to prevent preterm birth.
Research the app
When considering a pregnancy app, you can start by asking yourself these helpful questions:
- Was it developed by a medical society like the ones mentioned above?
- Does it have doctors standing behind it and recommending it?
- Do the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other government health organizations support it?
- Does it rely on solid research?
- Was it developed with clinical input?
If you’re relying on the app for accurate, helpful guidance, then it’s important to do your homework.
Keep safety in mind
Know how to keep your information private
Many apps collect your personal information and use it for other purposes. Be on your toes when loading any app but be especially cautious of free ones since you’re likely paying for the service with your personal data.
You should also think twice before linking apps to your social media accounts and read all privacy policies before agreeing to share health information.
It’s also important to check your privacy settings within both your phone and the app itself — you shouldn’t need to give access to your microphone, location or contacts to use a pregnancy app.
Know how to recognize dangerous apps
We know you have your baby’s best interests in mind at all times. That’s why we want to be sure you understand that while apps can be useful for tracking, they shouldn’t be used as a tool to monitor vitals or drive health decisions. Stay away from apps that:
- Monitor fetal heart rate. If a mom-to-be thinks there may be a problem and uses an app to check fetal heart rate, it could give her false confidence that all is well. If you’re concerned about your health, or the health of your baby, you should always consult with your doctor.
- Provide answers by way of social forum. Many apps, even the best ones, often also feature social forums. While forums can provide a communal space for moms-to-be to connect with one another, not all information that’s shared is accurate. Remember, it’s always best to consult with a doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your (or your baby’s) health.
Even the best pregnancy apps can’t replace your doctor’s care
While the best pregnancy apps can educate you about your pregnancy and help you manage overall wellness, they aren’t meant to replace your doctor’s care or drive your health decisions. You should always check with your doctor about making major changes or decisions, especially when it comes to the medicines you’re taking.
Ready? Here are three well-known pregnancy apps to download and share with your doctor.
- BabyCenter app. Features include detailed fetal development images and photos, trackers for counting kicks and timing contractions.
- WebMD Pregnancy app. Features doctor-approved tips and health information, week-by-week content that’s personalized to you, checklists for things like baby gear and what to take to the hospital and recommended questions for your doctor visits.
- What to Expect app. Features custom tools that guide you through both your pregnancy and parenting journeys.
To connect with other moms in San Antonio, ask questions and share advice, visit Baby Bump Facebook Group.1. Soffer M, Chen K. Identification and evaluation of fetal heart rate monitoring. Obstet Gynecol. 2017;129 (Suppl 1):101S.