Sometimes, ignorance is bliss …
Excuse me while I wander off into a short story before revealing my favourite pregnancy websites and apps. It’s relevant, I promise, but you’re welcome to just scroll down already …
Two weeks after the life-changing day that my pregnancy test showed positive, I had my first appointment with my doctor in Amsterdam. It was an enormous anti-climax. I told him I’d taken two shop-bought tests and both came back positive. He replied that I was almost certainly pregnant then, and to find myself a midwife to see in another few weeks.
No fanfare. No balloons. No flashing lights.
He did go on to give me some no-nonsense, Dutch style, advice that I’ve clung to throughout my pregnancy and has really worked for me:
“You’re going to get a lot of information coming at you from a lot of different places during your pregnancy. My advice is to ignore as much of it as possible. Find one or two sources that you really trust and stick with those, otherwise it gets too much.”
For me, first and foremost, I listen to my midwives (at my midwife practise you get a small team, instead of just one. A subject for a future post.)
Secondly I never spend time in forums. I made this decision early, based on one experience. I’m sure they can be helpful to some people in some circumstances, but from my single visit I got the overwhelming impression that pregnancy is hideously awful. Which it’s not.
Beyond that, I look at an extremely limited number of websites and apps, all of which you can find below.
1. The Information Website: NHS Pregnancy and baby
I now live, and am having my baby, in Amsterdam. I can read a basic level of Dutch, but when it comes to anything medical I want the re-assurance of my native language.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) gets a hard time, but in my eyes it’s still one of the jewels in the country’s crown. The Pregnancy and baby section of their website has more than 200 pages of useful, non-hysterical information.
Interesting information I’ve found from the website includes:
- An easy-to-use due date calculator
- A week-by-week guide to both your baby’s and your own development
- The ‘what to eat’ section, where I first discovered sushi is ok. From country to country, there are inconsistencies between foods designated as ok, so I just go by this list.
2. The Fun App: Baby Bump
image: Baby Bump
I have the free version of this app on my phone. It’s a handy way to keep track of where you are in the pregnancy – currently on Day 165, 115 more days to go!
It also has the ultimate fun facts: estimated baby size, weight and – most importantly – comparison with a range of fruit and vegetables. At week 23, my baby is roughly the size of a large mango. I can’t wait to see what comes next – so far she’s progressed from poppyseed size, via a raspberry and an avocado to today’s mango. This has provided much entertainment when in the supermarket fruit & veg aisle (“do you think she’s a long sweet potato like this one … or a round sweet potato like this?” – courtesy of my Mum).
I don’t pay much attention to the daily tips as the app is US-created, where advice is more restrictive, e.g. ‘avoid saunas and hot baths!’ or ‘wash your hands every time you pick a crumb up off the floor!’ My Dutch midwives have a quite different view.
3. The Local Social Site: Amsterdam Mamas
image: Amsterdam Mamas
If you’re pregnant, or a parent in Amsterdam, you will come across the Amsterdam Mamas. By far the biggest organisation of its kind in the city, it’s perfect for expats like me being written in English, although it attracts parents / parents-to-be from all over the world.
They organise Fairs, meet-ups, you can buy and sell in the classifieds, browse their directory or read contributor articles. The activities section has been very handy when we have friends or family with kids visiting, and want to find child-friendly things to do.
They also have a Facebook Group, if you prefer your chat that way.
Do you have any other websites or apps that you’d highly recommend? Or, do you completely disagree with me and think knowledge is power and you should read everything you can get your hands on? Let me know.