If you’re thinking about starting a family, or even expanding your existing one, there are plenty of handy apps out there to help you along the way. My wife and I went through and picked 20 of our favorites for each of the different stages from getting pregnant to taking care of the little one once he or she arrives.
Just like they taught us in fifth grade, this is the first step to the miracle of life. Unfortunately, they didn’t explain back then exactly how complicated fertility would be. At least there are apps for that.
Pocket Cycle (free, in-app purchases)
Pocket Cycle provides a discreet-looking interface for tracking ovulation. Adding reminders is a $0.99 in-app purchase, and you can share your data with a partner for $1.99. It uses the Standard Days Method (SDM) for its estimates.
Kindara (free, in-app purchases)
Kindara takes a much more data-centric approach through the symptothermal Fertility Awareness Method. If you really want to get the most out of the app, you’ll want to track temperature using a basil theromemeter and log daily changes in cervical fluid.
For additional help with conceiving, you can sign up for the KindaraCare service to get email support from a fertility counselor, a personalized plan and weekly chart reviews. Kindara members can also sync data across devices and access advanced analytics on the Web.
This popular Android app includes support for 14 fertility awareness methods, including sympo-thermal, mucus-only, temperature-only and calendar. The app is also highly data-centric, and it pulls everything together with a sleek design.
Once that bun is in the oven, the countdown begins for you and your partner to prepare for the baby. There are a wide range of pregnancy-related apps that focus on anything from health, journaling, baby’s development and creating time-lapse progressions of the mother’s belly.
BabyCenter – My Pregnancy Today (free)
This is the app that my wife used the most during her pregnancy. The weekly updates provide comprehensive information on the different stages of development. BabyCenter’s videos offer a great overview on how the baby is progressing.
Cute Fruit (free)
At some point in this great circle of life, someone decided that it’d be a good idea to compare the size of fetuses to fruit. Cute Fruit is a fun way to visualize the comparison. You’ll get notifications as your baby grows, and you can post any illustrations to Facebook or Twitter to keep your social networks in the know. Developer Caleb Thorson has also created Due ($2.99), a contraction timer app for iOS.
If Cute Fruit is too cute for you future dads, you can always man up with mPregnancy. Instead of comparing the fetus to fruit, this app compares it to guy things like footballs and beer bottle caps. The software hasn’t been updated recently, but it does a good job at keeping fathers engaged in the whole process.
WebMD brings you doctor-reviewed articles and checklists with questions for doctors visits. If you’re looking for an app to help you or your partner stay healthy during pregnancy, this is it.
My Pregnancy Calendar – The Bump (free)
The Bump is a great resource for pregnancy and baby info. We’ve heard mixed things about its community apps (Pregnancy Buzz and Baby Buzz), but the My Pregnancy Calendar app steers clear of the question-and-answer format and instead provides a central place for storing photos, to-do lists and calendar items.
Pregnancy & Baby | What to Expect (free)
Who needs books when you’ve got apps? “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” was the pregnancy bible for years. Now, with the app, you can get personalized snippets while also tracking your own progress. The app’s bound to be better than the movie, too.
Sprout (free or $3.99)
You can get a free version of the Sprout app, or pay $3.99 for the full experience. Sprout includes 3d models of your baby as it grows. The free version lacks some core features, so you’ll need to upgrade to get the interactive timeline, daily content, a weight tracker and a contraction timer.
Pregnancy by Bounty
UK parenting club Bounty has its own app with detailed journaling features, a photo gallery and weekly articles.
If all goes well, you won’t need these apps for long, but timing contractions for even a few hours will feel like much longer.
Full Term (free)
Full Term is a no-frills free contraction timer. There’s not much to it, but it does include convenient features like emailing contraction history and undoing a timer for false alarms.
Labor and Contraction Timer (free, $1.99)
The free version of Labor and Contraction Timer lacks the ability to log the intensity of and make notes for each transaction. It also doesn’t include charts, graphs and email export.
Contraction Timer (free)
We couldn’t find many contraction timer apps that worked on both iOS and Android, so we added one just for Android folks. The app’s free, but you can make an in-app donation to get the ability to email a spreadsheet with contraction times and use Android Beam to quickly send times to another device.
Taking care of baby
Once all the waiting’s over and baby is finally here, you’ll probably realize that you need to brush up on how to take care of the kiddo.
Baby Connect ($4.99)
At $4.99, Baby Connect is on the steeper side, but we’ve gotten plenty of value out of the app. You can use it to track just about everything your baby does during a day, including sleep, feeding, diapers and activity. Baby Connect is also a great place to log weigh-ins and measurements from doctor’s visits. If you’re diligent about inputting data into the app, you’ll end up with some really interesting charts to analyze during all those sleepless nights.
My Baby Today | BabyCenter (free)
Most of the big baby sites and online communities have separate apps for once baby is born. BabyCenter’s offering includes lullabies, checklists, calendars, photo albums and a wealth of information on how to take care of your child.
What to Expect – Baby Tracker (free)
If Baby Connect is too intensive, you can go with What to Expect’s free Baby Tracker app. You’ll have to put up with ads, though, and your data will be locked in.
Lullabytes (free, in-app purchases)
Lullabytes is a collection of calming classical music tunes that are ordered in such a way as to soothe your baby to sleep. The app also includes a function that automatically reactivates lullabies if the little munchkin cries and a sleep diary. You can add nature sounds and white noise for a $0.99 purchase.
WebMD Baby (free)
A large part of being a parent involves worrying about medical issues, both real and imagined. WebMD’s Baby app won’t replace your pediatrician, but it will keep you informed so you’re better at figuring out when it’s just paranoia.
Best Baby Monitor ($3.99)
You’ll probably want your own standalone baby monitor, but if you’re traveling or in a pinch, you can use the Best Baby Monitor app to create a connection between two iOS devices. The app also supports Bluetooth connections in case there’s no WiFi available. If you’ve only got one iPhone on hand, you can set up the app to place an alert call to a different phone number.
So there you have it: 20 apps to help you prepare for and take care of your baby. Did we miss any? Feel free to share the apps you use in the comments below.
Image credit: Shutterstock / Alexey Losevich
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