For Immediate Release
New iPhone App Personally Coaches Moms-to-Be
Grand Rapids, Michigan; September 17, 2012. Two Michigan doctors have launched babyQ, a website and mobile app for pregnant women. The Q is for quotient and the babyQ program aims to improve maternal-fetal health during the earliest stages of gestation.
Women sign up, take a short babyQ survey, and are given a babyQ score—0 to 100—based on the doctors’ own algorithm. Users then receive personalized health coaching messages, through push notifications or email, based on their babyQ score. Unlike other mobile apps aimed at expectant mothers, the goal of babyQ is to boost the woman’s score while adapting to the changing needs of the baby.
Mark Gostine MD and Gareth Forde MD, PhD developed babyQ out of their epigenetics research— the science of how genes turn on and off. Both doctors emphasize the power a pregnant woman has to turn on her baby’s best genes, through proper lifestyle, behaviors, nutrition, and stress management.
“As doctors, researchers and fathers, we want pregnant women to know more about predictors of neonatal health and disease,” say Gostine and Forde. “We want to help stem the tide of rising rates in childhood diseases, like obesity, diabetes, asthma, and autism, which lead to adult diseases. Getting to babies during their earliest development stages—this is what babyQ is all about.”
Gostine and Forde found the inspiration for babyQ.com through their own research on nearly 40,000 deliveries in the West Michigan region. Their findings on vitamin D were particularly informative, adding to the growing science demonstrating the influence of maternal exposure on fetal outcomes.
BabyQ helps busy mothers-to-be make the best choices during pregnancy—in order to enhance fetal development. “We want young women, like many of my patients, to find babyQ appealing because it fits into their busy lives,” says Dr. Forde. “They can start quickly and update on the go or at home, with a smartphone or computer. It’s a program that speaks to trends in electronic health communications and today’s generation of pregnant women.”
Other babyQ program features include:
- The LENS system, which builds survey questions, text messages, and the babyQ score around 4 categories in maternal-fetal health: Lifestyle, Exercise, Nutrition, and Stress Management. Like a camera lens, this aspect of the program zooms in on maternal strengths and weaknesses, and how these affect baby growth and development.
- Timely messaging that zeros in on LENS categories helps each woman make better choices that correlate with their baby’s weekly growth development.
- Personal Progress Charts, which help each woman see her current, average, and historical scores.
- Encouragement, guidance, and support for each woman who uses babyQ.
“We can help women turn on the correct genes while their babies are still in the womb, setting the stage for better physical, emotional and intellectual development, including IQ,” says Dr. Gostine.