Any mum or dad to be knows there is a plethora of pregnancy literature out there, and at first it may seem a little overwhelming trying to sift through it all to find the most helpful, relevant and accurate information. With this mind, I thought I would compile a list of apps and books that are proving to be very helpful in my pregnancy journey and could also be of use to other parents-to-be and hopefully saving hours of self-research.
The ease and popularity of having everything on your phone or tablet in one all encompassing app, available at your fingertips and on demand is very popular in this digital age, therefore I’ll start off with a few popular free apps which I downloaded at the very beginning of my pregnancy and for me, are by far the most helpful.
Baby Centre: My Pregnancy & Baby Today
Baby Centre is my favourite app for several reasons. The app is aimed at expectant parents, and tracks your pregnancy journey right from the beginning through to the bub’s early years. The app itself is nicely designed and easy to use. There are daily tips on what to expect each week as your pregnancy progresses, remedies for any aches and pains, and detailed fetal development images and videos (the fetal development video is very realistic and an excellent feature).
There is also the option of tracking the size of your bump with a ‘bumpie’ photo tracker. Another advantageous feature is the hugely popular Birth Club, where you can connect with other mums who are due the same time as you. This is essentially a forum to swap stories on the joys and tribulations of being pregnant. It is also relatively comforting to read stories which are comparable to my own experience and laugh (and cry) in solidarity. I also enjoy the medical tips, usually dispensed by trained medical experts in their respective fields. There are also informative midwife alerts now and again. And lastly, I receive a weekly email with a reminder of my progression and what to expect in the upcoming week (which is disturbingly accurate!).
Ovia: Pregnancy & Baby Tracker
Another great app which is both fun and visually entertaining is Ovia. This app is designed for expectant parents and has a positive focus with oodles of useful information. I have signed up to the daily email updates which I have found at times can get a little annoying however overall I like the daily reminder of ‘you are x weeks + x days’. The images for tracking fetal development are really cute as well, you can choose a few themes ranging from fruit to animals and there is also a baby hand print with how close your little one is to its due date as it grows each week. The ‘add note’ feature is also great, in which you can add photos, questions to ask your midwife or consultant, baby name ideas and a list of things to buy. As with the Baby Centre app it also has a bump picture tracker under the add a milestone tab along with first kick, baby shower and decorating your nursery.
Another app out there which is worth mentioning is the Baby Buddy: Best Beginnings, which is endorsed by the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and Royal College of Midwives (so you know it must be good). The app is relatively new and I personally think still needs a lot of work with regard to content however the customisation feature is great and the personalised content is engaging and relevant. The primary focus of this app is on providing content relevant to each individual for a more unique experience, which is a bonus.
And now for a few good old fashioned books, sometimes curling up in bed with an actual book is a great way to relax rather than staring at a screen scrolling through paragraphs of mind numbing glowing text, and here are a few books that really are worthwhile if you have the time.
Apparently this book is the holy grail of all things pregnancy! And after reading it cover to cover, I agree that it should be on everyone’s must have list (they even made a movie about it). It addresses everything you can expect in your pregnancy particularly any potential issues and what to do. The book also discusses nutrition, lifestyle trends, exercising, the birthing experience and what to expect. There were many times I had to quickly look up certain things like how to ease my backache or if it was safe to take certain medications like paracetamol during the first trimester. It is quite a lengthy read but I compartmentalised the book by reading each chapter corresponding to my week and month which made it much more digestible as sometimes reading self help guides can become quite cumbersome (and a little boring) in one sitting.
This book is written by a midwife who has had years of experience in delivering babies and addresses all the questions which you may be too embarrassed to ask, for example, should I get a wax, the truth about what really happens during labour and the importance of a perineal massage. It also has a section for dads to be which is quite hilarious. It is a lot less formal then most self-help guides and very well written with humor and a light hearted approach to the experience, in a way it is like a written sedative and I feel much better about the upcoming birthing main event after reading it.
Another book worth mentioning, which my husband read is The New Dad’s Survival Guide by Scott Mactavish, which is a lighthearted comical look at pregnancy and labour from a dad’s perspective. My husband read it religiously in one sitting when he first received it and I would recommend it for dads to be out there especially those that are a little daunted. And there you have it, I hope this concise list of recommendations helps new parents-to-be out there! Happy reading.
Kerstin // Lux Mumma