I recently purchased an e-book for which I learned, after the fact, there was a free app as well. I put both app and e-book to the test. Which is better? Which do I recommend?
The book is the venerable What To Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff, and it’s meant to answer every question a reader might have about pregnancy (yup, there’s my news!). I had heard from a few people I knew that the book had a little too much information—it is sometimes perceived as a little bit alarmist for some people, with detailed explanations of the many things which can go wrong. However, following some binging on Dr. Google which wasn’t good for me, I was banned from the Internet by the Beloved, who told me I could get one book, recommended by a doctor, and that was it. My doctor recommended this one.
The e-book version is nicely laid out. I’ve finished the introductory section and most of the first trimester stuff, and haven’t found any typos yet. It’s readable even on my phone. The table of contents is detailed and lets you jump straight to a topic of interest. I liked this. Even though I did read the first section all the way through, there were a few things which didn’t come up for me until later, and I appreciated being able to find that stuff and go back to it when I was ready. The topics are roughly chronological—for instance, morning sickness is covered in the first trimester section since that’s when it would be a likely symptom. But I appreciate that they recognized the utility of being able to easily find stuff later.
Inside the app
The app had a very different set-up. There are five tabs: today, my week, tools, community and settings. Here is what they each entail:
TODAY – There is a banner up top that counts down what week and day you’re in (based on the due date you put into the settings), and then there is a blog feed of several articles ad tips off the website. I like that there is different content to look at every day. However, the content appears to be chosen somewhat randomly. It’s not as organized a pregnancy education as you’d get from the book.
MY WEEK – This section has a short video highlighting what’s going on this week in the pregnancy, which I have been enjoying and find very useful. Then it has a short tip-of-the-week mini article, an ad section of sponsored products, and then a list of some common symptoms you may be experiencing. I like that this content changes every week. and the screen—in spite of the sponsored ads—is laid out attractively and is well put-together.
TOOLS – I am not sure if this content changes by week or month or trimester. Right now, it’s showing a list of different tests and screenings during pregnancy—you can click on each to get a fuller description of why the test is done and what it entails.
COMMUNITY – This is a portal to the companion website’s message board section. I have never used it.
SETTINGS – This allows you to tweak the app and customize your information, most specifically by putting in a due date.
The app is overall very good. I have another pregnancy app, paid for. It offers less daily content; it’s more of a ‘weekly’ app as opposed to a daily one. But it has one killer feature which the What to Expect one lacks, namely a journal function. With it you can export the whole deal into a PDF at the end which you can print to make a baby book. That was worth a few bucks to me, but I like the content in What to Expect better.
I think that if you are not a researchaholic and just want basic information—or if this is not your first pregnancy—the app is a better deal. It’s free, it does have valuable (and accurate) content, and you can consume this content without a huge time daily commitment.
However, this is my first time, and I do like to have all the information. I found the app a little random in what it provided me, and I appreciate the more thorough and structured information in the book, even if I did have to pay for it.
So, there you have it—book vs app. Depending on your needs, either or both could be excellent choices for expecting parents.
Congratulations, Joanna! It’s nice to know that parents can opt for the app if that suits their needs better. It is interesting to hear how technology can be used to help and inform in that aspect of our lives. 🙂