New app guides young mums through pregnancy

Donations have helped to fund a new smartphone app for young mums to guide them through pregnancy and the early stages of parenthood.

The Baby Buddy app allows users to create a ‘virtual friend’ who accompanies them on their journey during the first crucial and often daunting stages of parenthood – right from pregnancy through to the first six months of a baby’s life.

Users of the app, which was piloted across maternity services at Guy’s and St Thomas’, benefit from regular reminders, daily alerts and video clips, as well as the function to set goals and manage appointments.

The app is designed to encourage young mothers to book early with their midwife, reduce missed appointments and help make ‘Every Contact Count”’ by providing parents with a place to store questions they may have for upcoming appointments in a ‘Remember to ask’ list. The app also has a geolocation feature, which was added to increase the uptake of local services by signposting users to local groups and NHS services.

Helping young mums

Emily Denness, lead midwife in St Thomas’ teenage pregnancy team was involved in launching the app in November. ‘We are recommending the app to all our teenage mums-to-be and we’ve already seen great results from some of our young girls who are using the app,’ she explains.

‘The features on the app have helped them with so many different aspects of pregnancy. It has been great for breastfeeding, with practical information, but also during pregnancy to allow them to make informed decisions about feeding and their choices in pregnancy and birth.’

Partly funded by generous donations, the app was initially developed by Best Beginnings, a child health charity which helps parents give their babies the best possible start in life.

Improving lives for the future

Lynne Pacanowski, director of midwifery at Guy’s and St Thomas’ is extremely supportive of the technology. ‘It has been a pleasure to be involved with such a forward-thinking development in maternity care for young people. We’re extremely grateful to Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity for their support,’ she says.

‘I’m sure this app will continue to improve experiences for young people not only in our local areas of south London but nationally as well.’

The app gives parents access to information and support in a way that works for them, irrespective of social background. ‘16-24-year-olds are among the highest users of smartphones, so it makes sense to deliver key messages and support in this way,’ says Alison Baum, Best Beginnings CEO.

Baby Buddy has been endorsed by many different bodies including the Department of Health, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Royal College of Midwives, the Institute of Health Visiting and the Faculty of Public Health.

The app is free to download and available on Android and iPhone. You can support innovative technology like this to help give babies a healthy start by making a donation to Guy's and St Thomas' today.

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