For those of you who have seen me in the office, you know I love my iPhone. I use an app as a “pregnancy wheel” before I see each pregnant patient to calculate the exact gestational age. It replaces the old paper wheel that I carried around during residency. So, it got me thinking, what apps are out there for patients. I know most of you (at least you first time moms) have them because you tell me your exact dates all the time…. “I’m 32 weeks 3 days.”
I did some internet searches for pregnancy app ratings and the top downloaded ones on iTunes do seem to get the most praise. I decided to download the free version of the 5 most popular ones. Before I give my take, I have to disclose that have NO FINANCIAL INTEREST whatsoever in any of the companies that make these apps. I also played around with each one for only a few minutes. At the end of the blog, I am going to ask for help from current app users!
So the top five downloaded in no particular order are:
I entered my wife’s name (no, we are not pregnant… yet) and made up a due date in each of the apps. You will find that this is a required first step, as the information they provide you in all the apps is gestational age dependent. What I found to be interesting is that all of the apps essentially perform the same functions and have many of the same features, just in slightly different formats. They all let you know how far along you are and how big you baby is that day (obviously an estimate or an average). The graphics are different in each app, and I wasn’t overall amazed with one over another. Most of them give you a tip of the day, and sometimes that tip is for your partner! Each app has a searchable information section and a notes section where you can type out questions to ask your provider at your next visit. Photo sections allow you to document your baby bump along the way and then if you are a social networker you can tweet or facebook from the app. Sprout even lets you write a journal along with the photos and then for a fee they will publish and mail it to you at the end of the pregnancy. Pregnancy (The Smiles Factory) and Sprout have nice check-lists of things for you to do, including what to put in your baby bag for the hospital.
Since I didn’t buy the apps, I am unsure of the additional features they include (aside from the absence of advertisements). I clearly could not find one app that reigned supreme. Please post comments to this blog with your app experience or questions. I would love to hear your opinion, as would the other readers of this blog. (All comments have to be screened so you will not see your post immediately.)–Dr. B