Who needs to go to the doctor when you've got an iPhone? Mothers-to-be looking for an easier way to keep tabs on their unborn children can now do so without going to a gynecologist. Bellabeat Tracking System, for $129, includes an iOS or Android appcessory that lets you listen to your baby's heartbeat from inside the womb.
The hand-held fetal doppler connects to your phone via the audio jack and acts as a microphone and amplifier for your child's heartbeat. That information is transmitted to your phone, where the BabyWatch companion app (opens in new tab) turns it into colorful and moving representations of your baby's vital signs. While you won't be able to get an image of your little bundle of joy as you would from an actual ultrasound scanner, this appcessory presents an interesting DIY check-in option between doctor visits.
Bellabeat tracking system also serves up information about your pregnancy, such as your kid's development per week, and offers tips like talking and singing to your baby as it grows. You can also log each kick you feel in the app. There's also a social component that allows expectant moms to connect and share with other moms, or with friends and family. A built-in calendar helps keep track of doctor's appointments and lets you set reminders for yourself about everything for reading baby books to taking folic acid supplements.
While the device has been granted FDA and CE licenses, some doctors caution mothers against completely relying on a fetal heart monitor since the reassurance from the sounds heard might delay some people from seeking medical help. Without medical training, you may also be unable to distinguish the sounds of your own heartbeat or blood flow from that of the fetus'.