There are countless precious milestones in a baby’s life. That first toothless grin. That little bitty giggle. But there are many milestones that occur before a baby is even born. (Maybe the first time your baby kicked, you wondered if he was destined to be a star soccer player — or samurai?) Now there’s a whole market of free apps to monitor and track your baby’s growth in the womb.
In this post, we’ll take a look at six of the best free apps to help you have a healthy pregnancy and experience your baby’s unique milestones while she’s still growing inside you. Sure, there are apps that you can pay for, but in case you’re saving up for diapers, blankets, toys, and the million and one other things your baby will need, here are the free ones.
1. What to Expect
From the bestselling maternity book (and motion picture) What to Expect When You’re Expecting comes the pocket-size app that personalizes your content based on your due date. Your baby’s development will be easy for you to view and understand as What to Expect breaks down each pregnancy stage according to the size of a fruit! Forums also will let you connect to other moms online and even arrange meet-ups.
2. Baby Center
With fun features like a baby names finder and baby kick counter, Baby Center is a popular app with first-time mothers and experienced mamas alike. Says one veteran mom, who swears by the Baby Center app: “I’m on my third child and I still found useful info in this app that helped me gain a better understanding of my baby before and after birth.” Baby Center also offers contraction timers, nutrition ideas and weekly checklists to keep you organized.
3. Pregnancy +
For the mom who likes a visual approach to learning about her baby, Pregnancy + showcases interactive color images for every week of pregnancy to its 12 million users. A baby size visualizer helps you see how your baby might look at full-term while a pregnancy weight log assists you in tracking your own body changes and maintaining a healthy weight. Add in a personal diary and baby shopping list, and you’ve got yourself one of the most useful free pregnancy apps on the market.
See also: Baby Food: Homemade vs. Store-Bought
4. The Bump
If you’d like to see a 3D interactive visualization of your baby’s growth right from your phone, this is the app for you. Like What to Expect, The Bump illustrates your baby’s growth in sweet fuzzy-fruit language: “Baby is as big as a peach!” And since this app is the brainchild of The Bump brand, you’ll also get access to more than 15,000 baby product reviews to help you make an informed decision about important purchases.
5. Glow Nurture
Glow Nurture provides a customizable experience for you and baby with tips for each trimester and birth stories to inspire you. In addition to access to thousands of pregnancy articles, you’ll also be able to chart your symptoms, log your feelings daily, and receive reminders for those important OB-GYN appointments. The Glow Community also lets you reach out to other moms and compare notes about your pregnancies.
Putting its own tasty spin on illustrating your baby’s growth, Ovia shows you how big your baby is with pictures of French pastries! Not exactly inspiration to eat your greens, but a fun way to experience your child’s growth milestones. If you are watching your BMI, though, Ovia gives you feedback about your own health as you log a food journal, pregnancy symptoms, medications, and anything else that will help you stay on track.
Pregnancy Apps Don’t Replace Medical Advice
Of course, you don’t need an app to track your pregnancy progress. Parents Magazine suggests lighthearted do-at-home activities like “The Incredibly Expanding Outfit,” in which you snap a shot of yourself each month in the same outfit! But monitoring your baby’s growth inside you isn’t just an enjoyable process, it’s a necessary one as you learn the rhythms of your little one’s movements.
And remember: Apps are a supplement for regular doctor’s visits, not a replacement. An ultrasound is still the best way to reliably see what’s going on inside your body. As Dr. Joanne Stone, medical professor at Mount Sinai in New York points out:
Some women come in (to OB-GYN appointments) thinking nothing could be wrong, and others come in worrying about everything.
Witnessing your baby’s growth through an app may help ease some of that natural worrying, but always go to your scheduled check-ups and make an extra appointment if you suspect anything could be wrong.
In the meantime, don’t be surprised if you’re craving a peach … or chocolate croissant.
You may also be interested in: