Belfast Telegraph

Can software make your pregnancy an app-ier event?

Keeley Bolger on the benefits of programs for mums-to-be

It's the age of information, and boy don't you know it if you're expecting a baby. With weeks between appointments and a raft of physical and emotional changes, as well as practical considerations to contend with, pregnancy tracker apps seem the obvious solution, often offering daily updates on the baby and mother's development, as well as help sifting through the great pool of information.

But with regular reminders of what should be happening, could using apps increase anxiety for expectant parents?

John Miles doesn't think so. He set up Pregnancy + and the wider digital healthcare brand Health & Parenting with his wife, Amber Vodegel, five years ago, amassing 12 million downloads since then.

With a baby on the way, both were overwhelmed by the amount of advice online and longed for a streamlined app.

"The beauty of an app, and with Pregnancy +, is that with just a few bits of information - the due date and your name - we customise all of the content to you, so whenever you open the app, you can see what's happening to the baby at that particular time," he says.

Although Miles concedes that an app can't compensate for an appointment with a midwife or specialist, many of the features included can ease the daily challenges pregnancy brings.

On the whole, Dr Helen Webberley, GP for www.oxfordonlinepharmacy.co.uk, is in favour of such apps, providing they're used "sensibly".

"Overall, the concept of digitalising and recording your health is a good idea because, like everything, it's not about a specific number, but a change," she explains.

"Sometimes it can be hard to remember things like how often your baby kicks, so if this app gives you a record of that (it can be helpful). But if it makes you completely and utterly paranoid, checking everything every two minutes, it's overkill."

Although Melinda Nicci, a sports psychologist and founder of Baby2Body, an online platform offering well-being and fitness support for mums, welcomes apps that offer reliable information, she urges caution.

"Pregnancy is such a personal experience, and unfortunately there are scary things that can happen, but scary things aren't the norm," she says.

"With so much unfiltered information available and the lack of personalisation with certain pregnancy apps, it's easy for a woman to get immersed in horror stories.

"It's so important for women to focus on staying healthy, happy and positive at this time, and focused on their personal experience - not what an app tells them might or might not happen."

If any little bookworms are in need of inspiration before World Book Night on April 23, this new online subscription service could be a good investment.

Dubbed the "Netflix of children's books", Ebookadabra is the first E-reading subscription service of its kind, from which you can download books, record a story and load your device with educational games.

Visit www.ebookadabra.com for more details.

Along with all the genuine profiles and pictures posted on dating apps, with depressing inevitability, a number of users still feel the need to post inappropriate naked selfies.

To help people avoid getting an eyeful, Trueview, a British dating app, has added a nudity filter to prevent naked snaps from being uploaded.

Visit www.trueview.me for information.

Frequent traveller? This one might be for you. YRoam, launched last week, offers a cheaper alternative to roaming costs by providing users with a portable WiFi hotspot for up to five devices without the need of a local SIM card.

They claim the £199.99 device, which uses cloud technology to find local networks offering the best rates, will slash the cost of roaming in more than 100 countries. Visit www.y-roam.com.

Belfast Telegraph

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