Moms in the time of technology

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Moms-to-be are increasingly taking to apps and logging in to online community forums to keep track of their pregnancy phases and post delivery care.
It took less than 24 hours for Shruti Iyyanki to make out what could possibly be the reason behind the sleepless nights and itchy body in her 8th month of pregnancy.
The term ‘obstetric cholestasis’ an uncommon pregnancy condition that affects the liver was introduced to her after she discussed her symptoms in a community chat group on her pregnancy app.
So the next day the 26-year-old dashed off to her gynaec, reporting the symptoms and her fears, which came out to be true once her reports were out. “Thanks to the community groups in my pregnancy app, I didn’t ignore the symptoms and sought medical help immediately.
The app was my constant companion throughout my pregnancy and post delivery,” says Shruti, now a mother of a healthy two-month old.
Several moms-to-be and young women like her are increasingly taking to apps and logging in to online community forums to keep track of their pregnancy and fertility phases.
Going by the sheer number of such apps flooding the market, there seems to be one for everything, even planning for pregnancy.
City doctors say that many young women are now ditching the traditional methods and using technology to help them plan or prevent pregnancy and this had made the new generation moms more aware of issues during pregnancy.
The user has to log in the details of three monthly cycles and the app takes into consideration the fluctuation and symptoms, projects the next start date of the user’s cycle and sends out pop-up message alerts on the mobile phone on fertile periods. Apps such as Glow offer great data-driven information to improve and predict reproductive health.
You can also use the app to record more than 40 different health signals, including items like basal body temperature, emotional discomfort.

Weekly updates

For the young tech-savvy women, keeping track doesn’t stop once they conceive. For that’s just the start of the long journey ahead.
Pregnancy apps, websites and online community forums give daily or weekly notes virtually creating a bond between the mother and the baby. You start by entering your due date, weight and other information.
The app creates a chart tracking your progress and showing the number of days left.
Apps such as BabyBump Pregnancy Pro gives daily updates and week-by-week progress of how the baby is growing with baby’s size, weight and development, a schematic embryo photo of the baby, information on the common symptoms and body changes the pregnant woman needs to know, mood and pregnancy symptoms.
At week 21, Kirti Patnaik was thrilled to know that her little baby can hear voices from then on.
“It was a wonderful feeling to relate to what’s happening inside the body and my baby’s development, which show up as notifications from my various iPhone apps.
I could visualise the baby’s growth and daily updates made me feel less anxious,” she adds. BabyBump also encourages you to upload a photo of your expanding belly each week to create a time-lapsed series of your growth.
Says accountant Ambika Arun Krishnamurthy, mother of an 18-month-old: “I was glued to the online communities throughout my pregnancy.
And in fact, I got some of the best advices from the forums in Babycentre.in.
Towards my last trimester, we shared things like what to carry in our baby bags, birthing stories and what common problems we can face when we are nearing delivery time.”
Other apps like WebMD Pregnancy has a pregnancy calendar and weekly illustrations that are more vibrant.
There are daily tips and suggested questions to ask your doctor at your next appointment.

Online communities
Other online communities like Indiaparenting help parents right from the stage of conception to the phase of dealing with teenage kids.
It addresses numerous parenting concerns such as conceiving a baby, pregnancy advice, newborn care, child’s healthcare and IQ development of kids.
It also gives parents a number of cool, useful tools like ovulation calculator, height-weight calculator and vaccination reminders.
Here, users can also share their views with other parents in ‘Discussion Boards’ to gain information and advice on parenting, relationships, beauty and diet.
Ambika says the online community groups are like one big bunch of friends from all parts of the country and across the globe.
“Even now we are in touch and discuss parenting issues.
Though I have never met them, we share a special bond because of the long connection we have had throughout the pregnancy and post delivery phase,” she adds.
The forums give blunt, relatable parenting advice.
The participants, each of whom are already a parent, share great tips, anecdotes and affirmations on how to survive as a new parent, and what to remember along the way.

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