March 14, 2013 -- intro: Not sure what to expect when you're expecting? Your smartphone can help.
Pregnancy apps are a blooming niche. A search on the Android app store Google Play and the iPhone App Store produced around 1,000 results.
ByteMobile, a research firm that anonymously sources data traffic statistics from the 3G and 4G networks, meaning they monitor actual usage activity of mobile users worldwide, released its first quarter 2013 Mobile Analytics Report in February. According to the report, on average, 47 percent of total mobile subscribers using one or more health app are using a pregnancy-related app.
There are apps for monitoring your baby bump, apps that provide check lists to help with "baby brain," apps that provide a list of foods that are pregnancy no-no's. There is even an app that will morph photos of you and your partner's faces together to show what your baby might look like.
WebMD, the health and medical online database -- or as some like to call it, the self-diagnosis website -- this week released WebMD Pregnancy, a free app for iPhone that provides "hundreds of doctor-approved multimedia information and advice" for expectant mothers.
This app is all-encompassing. It includes 3-D visuals of a mother's changing body as well as the baby's development week-to-week (based on the due date), a check-list of common questions to ask the doctor (based on each pre-natal appointment), a symptoms tracker, a contraction timer, tips for healthy pregnancy and articles targeted to your current trimester.
But there are plenty of other pregnancy apps that can help moms-to-be prepare for pregnancy. We shifted through dozens of apps to help new parents. Click through the list to see some of our favorites.
Disclaimer: Most pregnancy apps are created just for fun and are not approved or sponsored by medical professionals. Always raise any and all questions or concerns about your pregnancy with your doctor.
quicklist: 1category: Trying for Conceptiontitle: Period Tracker, Free for Android and iPhoneurl: media: 18724448text: At first glance, the Period Tracker looks more flowery than a tampon commercial, but don't let that put you off.
This app, which was created by GP International LLC, is very user-friendly. It tracks your period and ovulation cycles every month with just the press of a button.
After you enter start and end dates for your period, it then logs and calculates the average period start date over the course of three months to predict the start date for future periods, ovulation days and fertile days -- all of which appear on a month-by-month calendar. Users can also mark "intimate" days on the calendar.
The Period Tracker allows users to note moods and symptoms, such as acne, body aches and cramps, by date. In the app's Period Log, users can write their questions or thoughts to share with their doctor later.
quicklist: 2category: Trying for Conceptiontitle: Kindara Fertility, Free for iPhoneurl: media: 18729229text: The Kindara Fertility app is a little overwhelming, at first, but anyone who is super detail-oriented will love this app.
A lot less flowery than other ovulation trackers, Kindara breaks down your menstrual cycle and all those days in between by fluid type and flow, plotting them on a chart over the course of 30 days and noting which days the user is ovulating.
It also lets you keep track of your body temperature -- because your temperature tends to rise a few degrees when you are ovulating -- as well as moods, OPK results, spotting and pain levels so you can talk to your doctor about it at your next visit.
The click-through tutorial that walks users through the app after it is first downloaded is also appreciated.
quicklist: 3category: Monitoring the Bumptitle: BabyBump Pregnancy, Free for Android and iPhoneurl: media: 18724385text: The BabyBump Pregnancy app, created by Alt12 Apps, Inc., not only counts down the days left before your due date and what week you are currently in your pregnancy, it also tells you what symptoms you might be feeling and when.
For example, the app tells you in Week 18 you might be feeling dizzy and reassures you that is normal. It couples that with diagrams and illustrations, like the ones you would see in an OB/GYN office, that show what the baby would look like and how it should be positioned in the womb from week to week.
BabyBump also connects you to community message boards within the app to offer users discussions on almost everything, from general support to baby name ideas, and to share photos of your growing bump.
quicklist: 4category: Monitoring the Bumptitle: Pregnancy/Sprout, Free for iPhoneurl: media: 18729055text: What made the Sprout app by Med ART studios stand out from other pregnancy apps is that it offers full-screen, 3-D interactives of how the fetus, its organs, limbs and facial features develop from week to week.
Sort of like Cliffs Notes from the "Gray's Anatomy" reproductive section, each slide in the app shows the next stage in fetus' development with three to four buttons per slide that pop up with interesting facts. For example, on the Week 21 slide, one of the buttons pop up with, "Your developing fetus now often hiccups."
Similar to other apps, Sprout has a "The Doc Says" tab, which offers a week-by-week explanation of symptoms you are probably experiencing as the fetus grows. It also includes a weight tracker, a baby kick counter, a contraction timer and an organizer to keep track of appointments and prepare for your baby's arrival, including details ranging from what to put in the hospital bag to essential items for bringing the baby home, such as a car seat.
quicklist: 5category: Planning for Baby's Arrivaltitle: Peaceful Nursery, $0.99 for iPhoneurl: media: 18729032text: For all you organic and eco-friendly -- and expectant -- enthusiasts out there, this app is for you.
Peaceful Nursery app by Spirit Quest World provides a shopping list for an eco-friendly nursery, including suggestions for an organic crib mattress, organic cotton crib sheets and other times.
The app also has tips for how to have a healthier home for your baby, such as opening windows from time to time for better ventilation.
quicklist: 6category: Planning for Baby's Arrivaltitle: BabyBag, Free for iPhoneurl: media: 18729120text: There are several pregnancy apps that include a checklist for what to pack in your hospital bag for when you go into labor.
What sets the BabyBag app by Andreas Krawczyk apart is that it lets users create several customized "packlists" for you, your partner, your baby -- heck, even grandma-to-be can have a list.
Other apps only offered a checklist for "mommy's bag" or "mommy, daddy and baby's bag." This app gives users a bit more freedom to personalize their lists.
Each packlist has three tabs: all, which shows the full list of what you select to put in your bag; packed, which shows only the items you have checked off; and missing, which shows the items you haven't checked off.
But one of the best features is that the app allows you to set a "first pack reminder" and a "second pack reminder" alert by date and time -- your due date, perhaps.
quicklist: 7category: Planning for Baby's Arrivaltitle: My Pregnancy Today, Free for Androidurl: media: 18724396text: My Pregnancy Today app by BabyCenter is one of the most popular pregnancy apps in the Google Play store, with more than one million downloads in the past month.
It is another one of the all-encompassing pregnancy apps, with week-by-week fetal development images, explanations for how your pregnant body will change over time and a due date calculator, to name a few, but the "Check List" is one of the best features of this app.
Designated as its own tab, the Check List breaks down week-by-week lists of suggestions for what you could be doing to stay healthy and prepare for labor. For example, in Week 16, the app says you should be doing kegel exercises and making a prenatal appointment for your first trimester.
quicklist: 8category: Staying Healthytitle: Foods to Avoid When Pregnant, $0.99 for iPhoneurl: media: 18729141text: This app could not be more straightforward. Its name says it all.
The Foods to Avoid When Pregnant app, created by LitCharts, provides full menus of all those foods you are supposed to avoid when expecting and breaks them down into eight main categories: cheese and dairy, dressing and condiments, drinks and beverages, fish and seafood, frozen and prepared foods, meat and eggs, pates and spreads, and vegetables.
From there, the app breaks the categories down even further into different ways those foods are prepared and what pregnant women should and should not eat.
For example, the meat and dairy section is broken down into six more categories. One section, labeled "Eggs, Cooked," says "cooked eggs are safe for pregnant women to eat but under-cooked eggs could be contaminated with salmonella," so pregnant women should avoid runny or soft-boiled eggs.
Similar for Android: Pregnancy Food Guide, $2.99
quicklist: 9category: Staying Healthytitle: Pregnant and FIT!, $3.99 for iPhoneurl: media: 18729045text: There are several apps for both iPhone and Android devices that offer pilates, yoga and other exercise moves specifically tailored to pregnant women -- again, please consult your doctor first -- but many those apps seemed to be on the pricey side. Some were selling for as much as $9.99.
Pregnant and FIT! by Brooklyn Academy Roots LLC is on the pricey end, as far as apps go, at $3.99, but the clean and user-friendly layout made this app seem worth it.
First, the home screen asks users if they want to do a 30-minute workout or a full-body one. The next screen asks users to select a workout based on intensity: "Mama's Tired, Feeling Good or Super Mom." Then, it lists the type of equipment you need and shows step-by-step exercise instructions, complete with photos.
quicklist: 10category: Staying Healthytitle: I'm Pregnant, Free for Androidurl: media: 18724438text: I'm Pregnant by Kolsoft is another all-encompassing app that includes week-by-week explanations of changes in your body and fetal development, a calendar, a weight tracker, a kick counter, packing check lists and a notes, or "diary," section.
But what made this app different is it also offers tips for healthy eating during conception and pregnancy, as well as fitness exercises for pregnant women.
quicklist: 11category: While in Labortitle: Contraction Timer, Free for Androidurl: media: 18724428text: Say you don't want all the bells and whistles of 3-D images, weight trackers and doctor's appointment reminders, but the big day has arrived and contractions have started.
Instead of trying to time your contractions with a wristwatch, consider a contraction timer app.
The Contraction Timer app by James Ots looks almost like an app marathoners might use to track their training runs. The app monitors contractions in intervals with start time and duration by the press of a button, and then tracks how they increase over time.
quicklist: 12category: While in Labortitle: Contraction Monitor, Free for iPhoneurl: media:18729089text: The Contraction Monitor app by Maxwell Software is a little more in-depth than most contraction timing apps.
Monitoring contraction frequency and time intervals, the Contraction Monitor allows users to rate how intense the contraction is on a scale from "very mild" to "very strong." It then generates a summary of your progress, complete with charts.
For more of a bare-bones, stopwatch-type contraction counter, the Full Term-Labor Contractor Timer by Mustansir Golawala, free for iPhone, was super easy to use.
quicklist: 13category: BONUS: A Pregnancy App for Mentitle: m Pregnancy, $2.99 for iPhoneurl: media: 18729473text: Aside from obviously being stereotypical, the m Pregnancy app has some fun features for men with pregnant partners, especially those who might roll their eyes at the idea of reading pregnancy books.
The app, created by Double Dip Media, Inc., shows the fetus' development in increments a man can understand. For example, it tells you that a 10-week-old fetus is 1.2 inches long, or about the size of a beer cap.
The app also includes pregnancy facts and tips for dads-to-be, such as foods your partner should avoid when she is pregnant and how to help her prepare for delivery. It even has an odometer-like "Score Board" that counts down to the baby's due date.