Ask any first-time parent how they felt when they left the hospital the first time with their little one and they'll likely tell you: overwhelmed and maybe a little scared — and definitely exhausted. Or when a mom-to-be finds out she's going to be a mom-to-be: now what?

St. Mary's Medical Center now has a solution to alleviate the confusion about what to do next: a new phone app to guide pregnant moms through their baby's development, including infant immunizations and all the stages in between.

The new St. Mary's Moments phone app covers a broad range of Women and Children's Services, from weekly gestational changes for pregnant moms, labor and delivery, postpartum care and breast-feeding assistance. It also includes convenient links for St. Mary's childbirth class registration, contraction timers and feeding logs. All are built into this tool, designed specifically for St. Mary's.

Cathy Roberts, RN MS CNML, NEA-BC, associate chief nursing officer and director of Women and Children's Services, explains that St. Mary's as an organization is trying to move from many of the paper-based information documents given to patients at discharge.

"More and more people are doing everything in their lives with smartphones, so it makes sense to provide them the information that way," explains Roberts.

"As I started visiting with the moms up here (in Obstetrics and Gynecology), everybody always has a phone. Whether they had the baby in their arms, or they had the baby in the bassinet, the phone was right next to them," Roberts recalls. "The paper booklet didn't get that kind of attention."

Once they were in the early stages of the phone app development, Roberts and her team decided to enter the concept into the annual SCL Health Innovation Challenge. They pitched the app to a panel of judges as an innovative way to improve processes with Women and Children's Services. They created a video featuring a mom with an infant, another with a newborn, and a woman who was pregnant, all discussing the benefits of the app for the current pregnancy stage they were in — and the ease of having the information at their fingertips.

Not to mention paperwork getting misplaced between the hospital and home when a new baby is part of the mix. "That's one of the big struggles," says Roberts. "When we send patients home, there's a lot going on. Trying to remember what they think they heard during their stay or when discharged, can be very overwhelming. We're trying to make it easier for parents."

This is where the St. Mary's Moment's app shines. It is comprehensive and covers the whole experience for the parents, from the time a woman learns she is pregnant through newborn care. This extends several months past the birth date to cover immunizations and related newborn and self-care.

Here's how it works: Download the app for free from either the App Store (Apple devices) or Google Play (Android devices) and provide a name and due date. Once the app is loaded, visit any of the six main content areas to find out what services are available at various pregnancy stages:

? Pregnancy: See what the baby looks like and weighs at each week of development, comparative size, and keep track with a kick count. Moms can also find out more about available classes and sign up via a link to the SMH website.

? Labor & Delivery: Learn about the Labor & Delivery unit at St. Mary's, what to expect, providers (OB/GYN staff on staff 24/7 and an OB-dedicated anesthesiologist), the mother/baby unit, NICU, and the level of care that SMH can provide to what age of child, including maternal-fetal medicine, lactation services, and a grief support group.

? Postpartum: This section focuses on changes moms experience after birth, from what pain might be experienced and changes the body undergoes afterward.

? Breast-feeding: There's a lot on breastfeeding, according to Roberts. This section reviews what mom needs to eat while she's breast-feeding, how to store breast milk, making sure baby is getting enough to eat, how to get an appropriate latch, and all those things that moms worry about.

? Newborn Care: View the recommended immunization schedule, keep track of baby's eating with the feeding log, and chart measurements.

About us: Review all the services and capabilities of St. Mary's Hospital, specifically the Women and Children's department.

The app is primarily for the St. Mary's and Western Slope service area, but it doesn't necessarily need to be just for the mom. "When I visit patients, I encourage them to download it, as well as the dads, grandparents and family members," says Roberts. The St. Mary's staff also have iPads to inform patients about the app and show them how to use it.

"This is the first educational app that we've provided for St. Mary's Women and Children's Services," notes Roberts. "Our hope is that over the next year we can transition to the app as our primary educational tool for patients."

If you're pregnant or know someone who is, you can download the app for free from your phone's app store (search for "StMaryMoments"). For more information about St. Mary's Women and Children's Services, contact Charlotte Balerio at charlotte.balerio@sclhs.net, or call 970-298-2229.

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