Tuesday, January 29, 2013

And Two More Top Apps for Pregnancy & Birth

Daily Water Free - Water Reminder and Counter is a nice free app for those who struggle getting the right water intake!  It can be a great tool to remind the mother-to-be to drink water.  

Make your own schedule for reminding, see your daily progress via a chart, see your intake history by day, week and month and you can easily email your water data to your physician, midwife, doula or childbirth educator!  

Keep well hydrated 365 days per year!  Becoming dehydrated, especially during pregnancy, has risks.  What an easy way to avoid complications!

Our rating: **** (4 stars)

Mindfulness for Pregnancy really can help you to practice relaxation, mindfulness, and meditation with or without a partner.  Would be especially helpful for those mothers without full time partners, or those mothers whose partners are deployed.  Relax via a body scan, recognizing relaxation or tension within your own body.  

Guided Loving Kindness Meditation helps you to further fall in love with your baby and be ready for his/her arrival.  Plus you can personalize your quiet time by selecting length of practice, how you are guided in relaxing and intervals for body scanning.  

There is even a Mindful Yoga section with simple body stretches to help with those aches and pains of pregnancy.

Our rating: **** (4 stars)

Have you found other helpful apps for iPhone, iPad, or Smartphones/androids?  If so, share them with us!  Email us at info@birthsource.com.

Friday, January 18, 2013

More Top Pregnancy and Childbirth Apps

Last time we looked at The Pregnancy Wheel, Safe Pregnancy and Birth, iDoula, Ilithyia, and Partogram.  Now, we explore four different apps for pregnancy and birth.  

Next time, we will focus on breastfeeding apps for the parent as well as the professional!

*Do you like an app we’ve not featured?  Let us know your thoughts…info@birthsource.com

I am very excited about this particular app!  

iBirth is an app made by childbirth educators and is truly impressive!  Co-founder Judith Nowlin is a birth doula and Bradley childbirth educator and mother and co-founder Amanda Hanson is also a Bradley childbirth educator and mother plus is a Doctor of Psychology.  Together, they have brought great videos of positions to use in labor, with suggestions for back labor and pushing, dynamic information about prenatal nutrition (complete with grocery lists!), and Tips & Lists.  Tips and Lists include tried and true birth secrets, food to eat in labor, and more evidence-based tips.  They’ve even included vocalization in labor and birth. 

I was so excited about this app, I emailed Judith and Amanda.  In the phone interview with Judith, she told me of the "conception" of this tremendous idea (or their "4th baby" as they both have 3 children)  and how the app was birthed in 2009.  Using the client-dads and their tech knowledge together with Judith and Amanda's strong backgrounds, they worked to create the ultimate pocket guide for both parents and professionals.  "We saw the value of how what we do face to face with our clients impacts their lives. We put care into the language we used in this app and didn't want to replicate other apps," said Judith.  They wanted to have an impact on maternity care - and so they have!

An updated version of the app is in the planning stages - it will make the app more interactive, and have more content and increased functionality.

There is also a 22 minute DVD + 3 extra segments for vocalization from iBirth available at Amazon or their website (www.ibirthapp.com for only $29.95.  You will be able to read a review about this DVD soon on this blog.
Our rating: *****(5 stars++) ~ in other words, you need this app!

Also from iBirth is the free Simple Contraction Timer.  Data history is preserved even if the app is closed or the phone is turned off.  A great asset for dads/partners during labor.

Be sure to "like" the iBirth Facebook page too!

Hypno 4 Birth was nuilt by British certified hypnobirthing educator Dany Griffiths.  As an introduction to hypnobirthing and a pipeline to the www.tums2mums.com website.  Griffiths has included an overview of hypnobirthing, what can be learned in a class (in person, home study or Skype), samples of birth stories, fundamentals of birth affirmations, a lovely Mp3 segment with music and birth affirmations and information on how to contact her. If you are interested in learning more about hypnobirthing or know someone who is interested, this is a great way to get some preliminary questions answered.
Our rating: *** (3 stars)

My 9 Months comes from the March of Dimes Foundation but is currently an iPad only app.  This great app tells you what is happening during prenatal appointments, discusses fetal development week by week, helps you make your birth plan, suggests how to reduce stress and how to get started breastfeeding and even includes a glossary of terms. Extremely interactive.
Our rating: *****(5 stars+)

Stage 1 is a fantastic free app from Arboretum Software.  Helps tell you where you are in labor so you don’t end up at the hospital too soon.  Follows Lamaze-style by providing a focal point, soothing timing ring and background picture that you choose to facilitate breathing techniques.  Great overall reviews.
Our rating: *****(5 stars)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top Pregnancy & Childbirth Apps

In this series, we'll be looking at the numerous apps for both the iPhone and iPad that focus on childbirth and childbirth education.  There are over 50 of them - some duplicates for the Phone and Pad.  But we're highlighting the best!  Here are the first 5!

The Pregnancy Wheel is super easy to use whether you are a parent or professional!  A swipe of the finger allows you to highlight your Last Menstrual Period Date to reveal the estimated date of conception, estimated due date plus what trimester you are to date.  And best of all, it's free!
Our rating: ***** (5 stars!)

Developed by Hesperian Health Guides, Safe Pregnancy and Birth gives information but in a negative manner in our opinion.  With topic headlines such as Danger Signs During Pregnancy, Danger Signs During Birth and Danger Signs After Birth, one would think childbirth is dangerous!
Our rating: ** (2 stars)

iDoula is more than a contraction counter.  Gives doula-type advice along with estimating the stages and phases of labor based on the frequency and duration of the contractions.  Downside, not available for the iPad, just the iPhone.  Helps give partners an edge, even if they cannot afford a doula or didn't hire one prior to labor.
Our rating: **** (4 stars!)

Ilithyia is an app for any birth professional, especially the midwife, nurse, doula and childbirth educator.  Named after the Greek goddess of childbirth, Ilithyia is a peer reviewed and evidence-based prenatal care guide.  Recommendations are from national guidelines set forth by ACOG, CDC and peer-reviewed articles.  Reviewed and edited by residents and attending physicians of the San Jose-O'Connor Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program, affiliated with Stanford University.  Many topics, such as Herbal Teas, Medication,  and Fruits and Vegetables are supported by "consensus".  Breastfeeding is supported by "evidence".  No information about labor or birth.
Our rating: *** (3 stars)

Designed for both iPhone and iPad, Partogram is meant to be used by women who are in labor between 37 and 42 weeks, having one baby who is in the head down position.  Linked to and promotes the book, Proactive Support of Labor, this app claims to be evidence based (I found very little of this info) and usable professionals such as ob/gyns, midwives, residents, GPs who do births as well as doulas and childbirth educators.  If parents choose functionality, they need to pay to activate the app.
Our rating: ** (2 stars)

Monday, January 07, 2013

2012 ~ a Year in Review & What Will Be the Hot Topics in Birth in 2013?

Birth research bombards us nearly daily with new research, new studies and new opinions. Yet one thing is clear, at the end of the year, it is interesting and important to reflect back and look at the evolution of hot topics for that year.  Let’s look at 2012.

You can search this blog for the “hot topics” of 2012 and also Google them.  In chronological order, they are waterbirths, Beyonce, Gisele Bundchens Birth Around the World, woman centered cesareans, homebirth vs midwifery care, Optimal Care in Childbirth: The Case for a Physiologic Approach, Mayim Bialik’s Beyond the Sling, evidence based practice, World Breastfeeding Week, mindfulness guided childbirth, Call the Midwife, Bottled Up ~ The Film, Jennie Joseph and No Woman, No Cry, Kate Middleton,  and the call for holiday elective inductions/cesareans.  This looks like a small, short list but it represents nearly 100 blog entries just on this blog alone, not to mention other blogs, websites, Facebook messages and Tweets! The media follows these hot topics for a while, giving them some good exposure but like a puppy who sees a squirrel, the media quickly changes when a star becomes pregnant (ie Beyonce or currently one of the Kardashians) or medical associations leak questionable statements about midwifery care, homebirth or waterbirth. Yes, questionable statements in plain view of substantiated research to the contrary.

The birth community, as I define it as all childbirth educators, doulas, midwives, lactation consultants, physicians and nurses who truly practice evidence based medicine, is poorly versed on the arts of marketing and immediate “fire” extinguishing (the "fire" being instances such as  the aforementioned leak of questionable statements to distract from a concrete discussion). To effectively combat the anti-evidence based practices and statements, the birth community must first come together in an effective and continuously productive way. Yes, this entails swallowing egos and pride and releasing territorialism for the sake of mothers and babies. 

After all, isn't it for mothers and babies we are in this profession in the first place?  Right?

My hope for 2013 is that more media time will be given to evidence-based practice and the pressure to actually use what is evident in the literature will become more commonplace.  I pray that breastfeeding will no longer be looked at as an option and that women will no longer have to be so militant in order to feed their children properly in public.  I want the atmosphere to be changed from “Please get to at least 39 weeks of pregnancy” to “why would you want to induce or have a cesarean and risk your baby’s health?”.  I would like nurses/hospitals and doulas to reach common ground.  And because I believe that education…childbirth education…is the turning point for both expectant parents as well as professionals – I wish that childbirth education would become commonplace and every educator’s class was full to overflowing!

You know, we can make it all happen.  

We really can. 

Are you willing to take that step with me in 2013?