Testers wanted for preg­nancy app

Waikato News - - News -

Preg­nancy is a time of con­tin­u­ous change— not just phys­i­cal, but so­cial, emo­tional, and psy­cho­log­i­cal.

While this can be ex­cit­ing— it can also be stress­ful. There are dozens of books, web­sites, and apps out there that tell ex­pect­ing moth­ers how big their baby is, what to eat and all the pos­si­ble com­pli­ca­tions that might oc­cur, but there is much less about the thoughts and feel­ings that evolve dur­ing preg­nancy, how to han­dle the wor­ries, shifts in re­la­tion­ships, and has­sles, and how to use the time dur­ing preg­nancy to build re­silience and plan a healthy fu­ture for the whole fam­ily.

Well now there is an app that cov­ers all that. A team from Waikato Univer­sity’s School of Psy­chol­ogy, headed by Dr Car­rie Corn­sweet Bar­ber, have been work­ing for the last three years to de­velop Pos­i­tively Preg­nant— an app for preg­nant women— and they are look­ing for vol­un­teers for a pi­lot pro­gramme.

Pos­i­tively Preg­nant in­cludes tools for self-as­sess­ment, tak­ing in­ven­tory of the mother’s strengths, stres­sors, sup­port, strate­gies for cop­ing, health be­hav­iours, and more.

From each of th­ese, the woman re­ceives feedback with links to New Zealand re­sources and in­for­ma­tion. Other mod­ules are guides for talk­ing or think­ing about plans for things like par­ent­ing, the birth, fi­nances, and fam­ily tra­di­tions. There are ac­tiv­i­ties for re­lax­ation, af­fir­ma­tion, jour­nal­ing, and just tak­ing a break, as well as in­for­ma­tion on top­ics re­lated to the so­cial and emo­tional side of preg­nancy.

Start­ing this month, the app is be­ing pi­loted in the Waikato.

The goal of the study is to see how women use the app, to get feedback and sug­ges­tions from them, and to see if there are changes in their stress, dis­tress, and health be­hav­iours while us­ing the app.

“One of the ad­van­tages of an app over some­thing like a book is that the app can be tai­lored to the par­tic­u­lar needs of the mother— there can eas­ily be dif­fer­ent ver­sions, in­di­vid­u­alised for the user,” says Dr Bar­ber. “In this pi­lot, we are es­pe­cially in­ter­ested in in­clud­ing women un­der 20 and Ma¯ori and mi­grant women, in or­der to get their in­put and ideas about tai­lor­ing the app to their in­ter­ests,” she says.

Any woman who is at least 16 years old, in the first half of preg­nancy and who uses a smart phone (ei­ther An­droid or iPhone) is eli­gi­ble to par­tic­i­pate.

The team is look­ing to re­cruit up to 60 women in Fe­bru­ary and March, and will fol­low them through to amonth af­ter the baby is born.

WAIKATO Univer­sity re­searchers, from left, Sukrita Bha­lay, Court­ney White, Car­rie Corn­sweet Bar­ber and Ju­liana Brown have de­vel­oped ‘Pos­i­tively Preg­nant’— an app for preg­nant women.

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