Apps take labor out of childbirth


Janette Cruz\’s second child is due in January and in addition to her doctor\’s care, she is using smart phone applications to keep track and manage her pregnancy. The Miami mother-to-be is shopping for apps for her own Blackberry, but in the meantime borrows her also-expecting sister\’s iPhone to use the pregnancy apps already downloaded.

\”I use my sister\’s iPhone and just change the due date so her apps give me information about my pregnancy,\” Cruz said.

Call it tech-bonding for the Cruz sisters. In fact, a growing number of mobile device apps are available for pregnant moms, as well as new parents. Some apps help pregnant moms maintain a healthy weight, provide diet tips, send reminders and alerts about doctor\’s appointments and more.

Others help prospective dads — or anyone considering being a parent — know what to expect, from the cost of diapers to childhood vaccination schedules. Many apps are free, while a good number cost about $3 or less. And they\’re available for most major mobile device platforms, including Android, Blackberry and iPhone/iPad.

Here are pregnancy apps every parent or would-be parent should know about:

Contraction Timer for Android, free. Don\’t expect a lot of bells and whistles with free or cheap apps, but this one still gets the job done by letting users track time of contractions, duration and frequency. Available:

Foods to Avoid When Pregnant for iPhone, 99 cents USD. Moms-to-be may not be able to chomp down those spicy burritos or shrimp-flavored hotdogs anymore. And she must think about everything she eats to make sure it is healthy for a budding baby. This app allows users to choose foods that are safe and healthy for mom and baby and reveals which ones to avoid. Categories include Cheese & Dairy, Dressings, Sauces & Condiments, Drinks & Beverages and Fish & Seafood. Tips include whether or not feta should make the cut. (Only if it is made with pasteurized milk). Available: iTunes.

Contraction Calc for Blackberry, $2.99. Mom no longer needs a pen and pencil to track contraction activity. Whether you\’re at home or visiting friends when labor contractions kick in, this app helps you monitor and calculate how far apart they are and when to get ready for the hospital. Available: Blackberry AppWorld.

BabyBump for Android
, $2.99. This app makes it easy to maintain a daily journal of the pregnancy experience. It can help keep a record of mom\’s weight, stomach growth and even body changes with the help of photos. Available:

Menstruation and Ovulation Pro for Blackberry, $3.99: Use this app to track menstrual cycles and to predict menstruation periods and probably ovulation days. Available: Blackberry AppWorld.

iPregnancy for iPhone, $4.99. This one delivers a wealth of helpful pregnancy information. Check out the Due Date Calculator, which offers predictions based on mom\’s last period, conception date and ultrasound dates. OB Visit Tracker helps monitor mom\’s weight, blood pressure and more. And the Baby Name Picker offers even more names to argue about. The app informs parents about average lengths and weights of babies at various gestational stages. Available: iTunes.

From Here to Paternity by Andrew Cullen for iPad, $7.99. A father chronicles his journey to parenthood on this e-book optimized for the iPad. It\’s romantic, funny, thrilling and easy to call up on your Apple tablet. Available: iTunes.

Pregnancy Calendar for iPhone, $9.99. This app features a happy bundle of tools for every soon-to-be-moms, including the ability to plan and track pregnancy from day one through birth. Record doctor visits, vital stats on the growing fetus and keep an eye on your diet. You can even keep a record of how many times the baby kicks. Available: iTunes.