From home ultrasound to baby health monitors, we've entered a golden age of pregnancy gadgets that can give parents-to-be detailed information about how their baby is growing inside the womb.
That's why we've rounded up the most innovative pregnancy gadgets that have either recently launched or are launching in the near future, from an ultrasound scanner that lets parents see and hear their baby in the womb whenever they want to wearable gadgets designed to play soothing music to your growing bump.
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All of these devices are intuitive and easy to use and crucially require minimum effort to set up. Because expectant parents will need to save all their energy ready for when the baby is born…
Bellabeat's Shell app can be used on its own, for free, or with Bellabeat's nifty accessory add-on. It works to amplify the sound of your baby's heartbeat when pressed to the mother's body, as well as to let you record the audio and even share it with friends and family via the app. No waves are sent into your body, it's purely capturing sound, so it's safe and is intended as a bonding device rather than an alternative to regular appointments.
Read this next: Living with the Bellabeat Shell
Bloomlife is a wearable pregnancy sensor with a twist – you're not supposed to wear it the whole time but for one, two or three months of your third trimester. It sticks onto the belly and measures the count and timing of contractions (both Braxton Hicks and labour) via electrical signals from the uterine muscle.
Data on your contractions is then sent to be viewed on the companion iOS and Android app. The team behind it has done four clinical studies to show the tech can track changes in contraction patterns.
$49 + $24 per week, bloomlife.com
Elvie is a pelvic floor exercise device, an 'insertable' if you like. Providing all the benefits of a standard kegel device, it also provides real-time bio feedback and gives an LV score within an app – both iOS and Android versions are on offer. It packs motion sensors that track the muscle movements during kegel exercises and tells the user whether they are performing them correctly.
You can use Elvie during your pregnancy as long as you are not suffering from any complications – but you should double check with your doctor first.
Read this next: Living with Elvie
QardioBase Wireless Smart Scale
Expectant mums can make use of the Pregnancy Mode on this stylish body analyser to keep track of their health and progress as the baby develops. It's compatible with iOS and Android devices and pairs with the Qardio app on a smartphone or tablet, so mothers-to-be can view their body data and share it with chosen contacts such as their doctor.
Meanwhile, the scales can be programmed to track the BMI and weight of multiple users, so other household members can make use of specific settings too. Gym Mode, for example, will monitor fitness goals and users are rewarded with a smiley face when they stay on track.
Ritmo Advanced Pregnancy Audio Belt
The Ritmo Advanced Pregnancy Audio Belt provides a comfortable and convenient way to play music to baby in the womb. Portable and lightweight, it doubles up as a support belt and has a rechargeable battery that lasts for up to 15 hours.
It links to an MP3 player or smartphone and has four mini speakers positioned around the belt to evenly distribute audio around the womb, at a decibel level that's safe for your baby's developmental stage.
Ultrasound scanning has developed rapidly over the last decade. Hospitals now routinely provide detailed scans of babies in the womb, while high-street shops are giving parents the opportunity to capture 3D stills and 4D moving images of the baby on a CD.
Ultra Stan promises to go one step further and let parents see and hear their baby in the womb when and where they want, whether that's at home or even out and about. Simply link Ultra Stan to the BleepBleeps smartphone app and it can record videos and audio of the baby in the womb, and take photos as he or she somersaults and kicks away.
This Baby-Bump Sound System features two speakers that attach to the mother's tummy to play music and recorded voices to baby in-utero. The price includes access to VoiceShare, the company's voice-recording network that lets parents-to-be record a story, song or message, which can then be downloaded to an MP3 player and shared with the unborn baby through the speakers.
It's a fun service for any parent or relative who wants to send a message remotely for the mother to download and play to her bump.