Traditionally, childbirth (or antenatal) education was delivered to parents by healthcare providers towards the end of pregnancy. But with more young pregnant families living far away from their own families and maternity care being fragmented, with care provided by a number of providers instead of a central carer (like a community midwife, which was the norm fifty years ago), there is an increased need to provide them with information and education earlier (or even before) pregnancy. Mobile apps are the ideal way to do this.
Adult learning principles apply to digital tools, too
Just because the learning is happening across a screen doesn’t mean that adult learning principles don’t apply. The information has to be reliable, useful and understandable, the interface has to be engaging and engage the learner. These are the principles we have used in developing Expecting – an app for pregnant parents developed by parents in collaboration with maternity care experts.
Our unique way of speaking directly to parents in a language they understand, with information that is timely for them depending on where they are in pregnancy is unique and effective. Being able to share information with their partner by syncing apps and sharing some data adds another unique, collaborative layer to the app. Finally, dads have a special, dedicated section with information tailored for them from the 9th week of pregnancy onwards. The articles for dads also encourage them to develop their parenting competencies and give suggestions on how to be active parents.
Parenting, not just pregnancy
Pregnancy is the beginning of a parenting journey and Expecting gives information on what is to be expected during pregnancy while encouraging parents to get ready for what happens after baby arrives. Having this information available helps parents, especially those who do not have strong parenting models in their own lives, to learn about parenting in a fun, non-judgemental way before baby comes. Being free, fun and available on both iOS and Android means many parents will be able to get this type of antenatal education.
Funded through a grant by the European Union, the app is totally free for users and does not include any ads or dubious data collection (the only information collected is the user’s name and email to create an account). There is no data sharing, no commercial interests and fully WHO Code-compliant.
Features that make the app fun, educational and above all – useful
Expecting is intended to provide parents with quality, evidence-based information in a fun format with useful and easy to use tools. Some of these features include:
- Information based on the highest level of evidence and best practice
- Pregnancy week by week updates that helps families visualize their baby’s development and gives helpful tips on how to deal with pregnancy challenges
- Friendly, expert advice for mothers and fathers tailored to week of pregnancy
- Tools to log weight, blood pressure and blood sugar (if users need to monitor these) that can be customized and downloaded
- Lists of items to get ready for hospital and home births
- Shopping lists for home, family and baby
- Interactive list of the top 100 baby names from ten countries where users can choose and share favourites and decide on the perfect name for their little one
- Kick counter
- Contraction timer that helps users decide when to call the midwife or go to hospital
- Tips and tricks provided by parents who have been there
Where can I find it?
More information about features, how to download and use Expecting can be found at www.expectingapp.eu. The app is available for iOS and Android operating systems, and has been translated into English, Croatian, Czech and Slovene. The app is being continually updated with new articles and new languages may be added over time. For inquiries and additional information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.