Monday, June 18, 2018
Deals & Shopping

Baby, there's an app for that

When I became pregnant with my daughter, now 4, I didn't even own a smartphone. I did most of my pregnancy research with my desktop computer and pregnancy books.

Now, baby No. 2 is on the way and times have changed. I get weekly updates explaining what's going on with my body and my baby's development, which show up as notifications from my various iPhone apps. There are also apps to track how much weight you've gained, how often your baby kicks and eventually how far apart your contractions are.

Among the apps I have tried:

BabyBump (free, or $4 for ad-free version with additional features; for Apple and Android devices):

Like other pregnancy apps, 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. (BabyBump also encourages you to upload a photo of your expanding belly each week to create a time-lapsed series of your growth, but I didn't bother with that.)

There are daily tips and a weekly update explaining what's going on with your body and baby. You can play slideshows of you and your baby's weekly development. These are in the form of drawings showing an expanding belly and what's inside. You can also join online pregnancy groups and use the app to keep a journal.

The free version has advertising on the bottom. The $4 pro version doesn't. The pro version also has a kick counter and contraction tracker, along with planning tools for shopping, name selection and birth announcements.

• • •

WebMD Pregnancy (free, for Apple devices only):

I like this app the most. Like the BabyBump app, there's a pregnancy calendar and weekly illustrations showing development. But WebMD's pictures are more vibrant and less cartoonish, though a bit more graphic.

There are daily tips and suggested questions to ask your doctor at your next appointment. You can keep track of your doctor's appointments and log your weight and blood pressure. Although I used the app to track how much weight I was gaining, I didn't bother with the blood pressure and found my Google calendar to be more useful in logging appointments.

The app includes a kick counter and contraction timer for free, whereas I had to pay for those features with BabyBump.

• • •

Bellabeat (free app, but heart monitor costs $129; app for Apple and Android devices):

At-home fetal heart listening systems aren't new. There are a handful of products of varying prices and quality, but many people have complained that they don't work well and aren't easy to use, especially in the early stages of pregnancy.

You plug the Bellabeat heart monitor into your phone's headphone port, and then plug a set of earbuds into the device. The companion phone app detects the baby's heart rate and lets you record the sound. You can even share the audio through Facebook, Twitter or email.

Like the devices used by doctors, the Bellabeat uses high-frequency sound waves to pick up the heartbeat. But this isn't nearly as advanced as the one at my doctor's office.

I had a mixed experience with it. The first time I tried the Bellabeat, I was 37 weeks pregnant. I managed to pick up my baby's heartbeat after a few tries. But a few days later, after the baby had moved into a new position, I couldn't find it at all. I just got a lot of whooshing noises from the device. Eventually, I picked up a faint heartbeat. I wasn't worried, but I can see why some doctors think these gadgets can cause unnecessary distress.

You can get the app for free without buying the device, and it gets you a lot of the same tools that WebMD and BabyBump provide.

The real question is: Is it worth $129 to hear your baby's heartbeat whenever you like?

Comments
Fatherís Day events for every Dad

Fatherís Day events for every Dad

FATHER'S DAY: TAKE DAD OUTSo maybe shopping isn't high on the list of things you'd think to do with Dad for Father's Day, but I'm not suggesting dragging him around the mall. There are quite a few cool events this weekend that Dad can enjoy, and you ...
Published: 06/14/18
Things to do this weekend: Fatherís Day, Maroon 5, The Illusionists, Mr. Rogers film, fireworks at Busch Gardens

Things to do this weekend: Fatherís Day, Maroon 5, The Illusionists, Mr. Rogers film, fireworks at Busch Gardens

HolidayFatherís Day: Sunday brings us a day to honor the guy who cheered us on, called us down and blamed us for his bald spot. Itís Fatherís Day! A number of local attractions are offering free admission for dads if at least one ungrateful progeny t...
Published: 06/14/18
5 things to do under $5: Dive-In Movies, Studio@620 birthday party, 71-cent burgers at Hard Rock

5 things to do under $5: Dive-In Movies, [email protected] birthday party, 71-cent burgers at Hard Rock

1Happy Birthday [email protected]: The community artists’ collective is celebrating its 14th birthday Saturday, with a free party at the perfectly timed 6:20 p.m. The little studio in downtown St. Petersburg puts on an array of art shows, concerts and...
Published: 06/13/18
Busch Gardens brings back fireworks, free Adventure Island pass with Fun Card

Busch Gardens brings back fireworks, free Adventure Island pass with Fun Card

Back "by popular demand" Busch Gardens has announced the Tampa theme park will once again have a fireworks on weekends this summer, and the park also brought back its deal that gets you a free pass to Adventure Island water park with the purchase of ...
Published: 06/12/18
Hereís what the

Hereís what the "b" stands for in IHObís new (and temporary) name

Thatís it, International House of Pancakes? Thatís the best you can do? You announce last week that you are mysteriously changing your name from IHOP to IHOb, and every pancake eater in the land gets busy. Sample coy tweet: "Dear Internet, we abbreci...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18
Fila collaborates with Burn Rubber sneaker boutique and shop Safety Harbor this weekend

Fila collaborates with Burn Rubber sneaker boutique and shop Safety Harbor this weekend

YBOR'S GOT SOLE: BURN RUBBER X FILABurn Rubber is a sneaker boutique in Ybor City that opened last October. The shop is the second location for the decade-old Detroit-based brand. Tampa resident Omar Ghanem, originally from Detroit, had been a suppor...
Published: 06/07/18
5 things to do under $5: Free golfing for kids, $5 admission at Imagine Museum

5 things to do under $5: Free golfing for kids, $5 admission at Imagine Museum

1 $5 Thursdays: The new Imagine Museum is offering $5 admission on Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. through June 28. The museum is dedicated to glass art, especially studio glass, a fairly recent movement in the scope of glass art, with pieces that take a pag...
Published: 06/06/18
Why are so many Florida honeybees dying?

Why are so many Florida honeybees dying?

FORT MEADE --†Jim Doan pats the bees gently with the flat of his big palm. Without acrimony, the nurse bees and worker bees amble toward the edges of the frame, revealing the larvae underneath. They are fat and pearly, the way they should be. Doan...
Published: 06/06/18
Regal, AMC offer cheap movie deals for kids this summer

Regal, AMC offer cheap movie deals for kids this summer

School is out and parents are looking for something for their kids to do. Once again, the Regal and AMC movie chains have a series of cheap family movies to come to the rescue.Regal is offering $1 movies at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday through...
Published: 06/06/18
Ticket Window: Lady Antebellum, Rick Springfield, Beach Boys, Vince Gill and more tickets on sale this week

Ticket Window: Lady Antebellum, Rick Springfield, Beach Boys, Vince Gill and more tickets on sale this week

Tickets for the following events go on sale this week:ē Lady Antebellum, 7 p.m. Sept. 28 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa, $35.25-$100, on sale at 10 a.m. 10 a.m. Friday at the box office, 4802 U.S. 301 N, or by calling (813) 740-24...
Published: 05/31/18
Updated: 06/06/18