Technology and Pregnancy: Contraction Apps and Their Limitations

Timing contractions? There's an app for that! Image by Gustav H

Timing contractions? There’s an app for that! Image by Gustav H

With a world of technology, it makes sense that computers and smartphones should be able to help pregnant families in some way. Phone and tablet apps do offer various ways of helping pregnancy – and one of those is timing labor contractions. Free apps available for the various devices, include the Contraction Calculator, Contraction Timer and Contraction Monitor.

What Do Contractions Apps Do?

Quite simply, contraction apps help to time your contractions. You – or someone else on your behalf – presses the button when a contraction starts to start the timer and then presses it again at the end. Sounds like a stopwatch, but wait – the app stores the times and calculates the timing between each contraction. You can see whether you contractions are closer together and last longer, or whether they could be false labor pains.

Yes, you could write these times down, and use a watch, but the app just makes it easier to track and time everything – and you can add notes to each of the contractions. The notes may be for your own personal use, to track when there is a mistake, or to include something that happened during the contraction if you need to talk to your doctor. You don’t need to remain connected to the Internet for the majority of the apps – you can use them wherever you are to help time the frequency and duration of labor pains.

Sounds great, right? There are some limitations to the technology, however.

Contraction App Limitations

What are the limitations to apps that track your contractions? You need to remember to press the button to stop and start the timer – or remember to tell the person doing it when your contractions stop and start. Many apps allow you to make slight changes or add notes if you make a mistake with the timing but it can throw off the whole system if you don’t press the button at the right time.

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Tracking the strength of contractions is also important. Not all apps will allow you to do this, so look out for one that will. The strength tracking is subjective – something that you think is a mild pain will be strong to those without a high pain threshold.

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