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Gainesville doctor’s iPhone apps making waves with expectant moms

High-tech option allows mothers-to-be to share prenatal journey with family, friends

POSTED: July 17, 2011 1:30 a.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Dr. Keshma Saujani prepares to take a picture of a patients's sonogram while working with sonographer Angel Wright at The Longstreet Clinic. Dr. Saujani has developed 2 iPhone apps to help women share their pregnancy with friends and family.

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Scheduling conflicts or distance keeping your loved ones from sharing in all of the exciting moments of your prenatal appointments? No worries, there’s an app for that.

With the help of a software developer, Dr. Keshma Saujani turned her ideas for two pregnancy apps, short for applications, into a reality.

As a mother herself, Saujani knows exactly how attending prenatal appointments alone can tug at your heartstrings.

"My husband (Mark Hogan) is a physician too, so he missed all of the appointments," said Saujani, an obstetrician and gynecologist at The Longstreet Clinic.

Although he wasn’t there to listen to the first notes of their children’s heart beats, Saujani has found a way for other husbands and loved ones to not miss out on such milestones.

The apps, "Luv Dub" and "Belly Booth," are both currently available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. They can be downloaded for free online at the Apple iTunes store.

"The whole thing started off with having patients not being able to share their appointments with their families who are out of town, or significant others who are at work," Saujani said.

"I thought it would be cool if there was a way they could email their visit to their friends and family. That way, they’d never have to miss a single moment of the pregnancy."

That simple thought set the wheels in motion for the creation of two unique applications.

The Belly Booth app puts a modern spin on the classic, cartoon flipbook by creating a time-lapse slideshow chronicling each day of the pregnancy.

"Simply take a daily profile photo of your belly throughout the months and Belly Booth compiles them into a slide show," Saujani said.

The Luv Dub app is a bit more detailed.

"It’s like a pregnancy journal," Saujani said.

"For instance, at each (prenatal) visit, we listen to the baby’s heart beat. With Luv Dub, they can press a button, record it and share it right then via YouTube, Facebook, email or other social networks."

The same instant feedback can be done with video and pictures.

"There’s also a notes section where they can do things like type questions for their doctor or how they’re feeling that day," Saujani said.

"This is a way for women to share their pregnancies with the people closest to them. In the past, people liked to keep things very private, but now, people share all of the time.

"Families are very involved in pregnancies now. These days, you have lots of people coming to the appointments with the (mom-to-be). I think it’s important to be able to share those moments."

So far, Luv Dub and Belly Booth have been downloaded more than 5,000 times. Although the applications have been downloaded mostly in the U.S., Saujani has seen a lot of international activity.

"It’s been very popular in the U.K, Australia and even Saudi Arabia," Saujani said.

"I think one reason it has been so popular internationally is because they may not get as many ultra-sounds as women here in the U.S. It’s very exciting to see that people are using the apps all over the world."

For the time being, Saujani says that she’s content tweaking her existing applications. New features may include a newsletter or a pregnancy topic of the week.

Even though software development is outside of her original area of expertise, Saujani says she’s proud of the programs, especially since they’ve provided an inadvertent life lesson for her own children, 8-year-old Maya Hogan and 5-year-old Kaiden Hogan.

"I never imagined myself doing anything with computers. I’m a physician, not a (computer technician), so I had to research everything from scratch," Saujani said.

"Working on these programs has helped me illustrate to my children that even if you don’t think you can do something at first, if you work at it, you can accomplish anything."



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