Pregnancy, childbirth and raising kids in the digital age


We live in a highly advanced age, so it’s no surprise that technology touches every part of our lives – and those of our children.

To anyone over the age of 30, the world today with its mobile phones, constant connection to the internet and obsession with social media, is almost unrecognizable from how it was a quarter century ago. Anyone under that age has never known anything different. In years to come, technology is set to continue changing the way we live and the way we conceive and raise our children.

Getting pregnant

It used to be a joke to say, “there’s an app for that” about everything, but more often than not, it turns out to be true. There are now dozens of smartphone apps on the market that let you track your fertility so that you can find out when you are most likely to conceive. For those couples struggling to conceive, such apps can significantly boost their chances of success.

There are also apps that let you turn your phone into an ultrasound device, so you can check on the heartbeat of your child as it develops, though doctors say such apps are not always reliable.

The digital age has also brought with it far more sophisticated testing for various conditions. Although it is not for everyone and completely optional, by the time you are 10 weeks pregnant, you can have a series of genetic tests that’ll help determine if your baby is at risk of any genetic disorders. If you have a genetic condition, and you are worried that it might have been passed on to your child, such a test can soothe any fears.

There are also apps, generally provided by the OB/GYN office after an initial consolation, which allow women to keep an eye on their health during her pregnancy. From the comfort of her home, a pregnant woman can answer a series of questions on a daily or weekly basis and this information is sent to her doctor via a secure internet. This enables the physician to build up a detailed picture of the health of the patient but saves the time and effort needed to book an in-person appointment.

The quality of the information provided to the doctor makes it easy to determine whether there are any concerns, such as a risk of pregnancy-related diabetes. If any issues emerge, an in-person visit can be arranged right away.

The doctor can also use the app to send the woman personalized information about her pregnancy, tailored to her unique needs and in response to the information being entered into the app. Any cases of concern, such as rising blood pressure, can then be monitored on a daily basis. The app can also remind the woman to take medication or any other type of treatment.

Sharing the news

Sharing the news that you were pregnant used to be a question of calling each and every member of your family and close friend and breaking the news one at a time. Today, thanks to social media, you can tell everyone you know with just a few clicks.

You can also share the moment with others as never before. One woman tricked her husband by making him believe the two of them were making an audition video for the TV show “Family Feud”. After giving some of the reasons why their family would be well suited to the show, Sabrina Clendenin added that the show liked to feature pregnant people when they were showing. It took a moment for her husband to realize what she was saying but once he did, his reaction – all captured on the video – was priceless. The clip went on to become a viral sensation.

Social media is, of course, a double-edged sword. Once news of your pregnancy leaks out, it is possible that one of your friends or extended family members may post something about it before you get a chance to yourself, robbing you of the pleasure of telling your nearest and dearest.

The same goes for the announcement of the actual birth itself, especially if you have opted not to find out in advance where the child is going to be a boy or a girl. There are hundreds of stories around about mothers feeling bitterly disappointed that they didn’t get to share the news directly. Therefore, make sure you lay down the ground rules before you share such sensitive information. If you want to be sure people only find out about a pregnancy or birth from you, you’ll need to be extremely clear with anyone you do tell that they must keep the details to themselves until they hear from you that it’s okay to tell others.

You should also make sure you are happy with your privacy settings on Facebook and other sites. While you may not be able to prevent anyone else from posting, you can get alerts that tell you if you have been tagged, allowing you to hide the post from your personal timeline. You can also temporarily change your settings so that only you can post on your timeline.

Raising digital children

It recently emerged that an astonishing 90 percent of two-year-olds in the United States have an online presence of some kind. An increasing number of parents are choosing to document and publish photographs of their children on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram. However, while studies by the Family Online Safety Institute show that 72 percent of parents are concerned about their children’s privacy, 55 percent of parents allowed their child to open their first social media account when they were under the age of 13.

Whereas 10 years ago a family would typically have one computer to be shared by all members, kids today can access the internet directly from their phones at any time of day or night. If you want to make sure your children are as safe as possible, it’s important to ensure lines of communication between parent and child remain fully open and that your children are fully aware of the dangers of sharing too much information about themselves.