A pregnant woman looks at her phone.
Coffective, a free app for expectant moms, provides a checklist to help plan the pregnancy experience. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

A few months ago, I wrote about some of the useful pregnancy apps that are available. In this post, I want to focus on one of the newer ones: Coffective.

The free app, available for iOS and Android, is gaining traction with moms-to-be and the people who walk the pregnancy journey with them. (The app calls these people champions—the dads, grandmas, moms, siblings, nurses, physicians and anyone who helps “champion” the expectant mother’s cause.)

The Coffective program is the brainchild of businessman Ryan Comfort, who in recent years set out on a journey to promote breastfeeding.

His work eventually led him to understand that breastfeeding awareness is very much a local issue, and any program aimed at promoting it—and promoting the entire experience of pregnancy, in fact, from conception to delivery—needs to be tailored to local communities.

What is Coffective? Community + Effective = Coffective.

The app and its corresponding educational materials are being piloted at five Michigan hospitals, one being Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial. The educational materials will soon be rolling out to all hospitals in Michigan. (So far, Louisiana is the only other state using the materials.)

Coffective is essentially a “Coffective” program, not just an app. It’s based on insight and input from health professionals.

In fact, that’s what makes the app and its many features so unique. It has great evidence-based information and it was overviewed by experts such as Paula Schreck, a pediatrician at St. John Providence Health System, and Tami Michele, DO, obstetrics and gynecology at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial.

There’s plenty of pregnancy information available on the Internet, but evidence-based information is the most important. It means the information has been researched and it is the current best practice.

The app’s planners were initially drawn to Michigan as a pilot location because the state has a high number of participants in the Women Infants and Children program. WIC administrators in Michigan have embraced the program, with plans to make the educational materials readily available in WIC offices throughout the state.

‘Fall in Love’

How is Coffective unique? Let’s take a look:

  • The app can work on its own, although it is most effective when paired with handouts that the participating hospitals would provide to mothers during pregnancy.
  • The handouts are color coded by topic, with titles such as “Get Ready,” “Fall in Love,” “Keep Baby Close,” “Learn your Baby,” “Nourish,” and “Protect Breastfeeding.” The color coding matches the app’s contents.
  • Each topic has information for the pregnant mother, father, health educator, health provider and grandmother—the “champions.” There’s also material available to the mother during the breastfeeding stage.
  • For pregnant mothers who use the WIC program, information can be sent to that agency after the child’s birth to ensure continuity of care.
  • The app provides a “Frequently Asked Questions” section on each topic, and the Coffective website also has videos and other content.
  • Champions are engaged throughout the program and encouraged every step of the way to provide support to the mother.

A newly pregnant mother can visit the Coffective website and download a form called the We’re Prepared Checklist. The form is already being distributed at some of the WIC offices in Michigan and in obstetricians’ offices at the five pilot hospitals.

The checklist covers the six topics mentioned above. (The app is handy here too, because it offers the checklist in an electronic format, allowing moms to always have the information on hand.)

You would read the material in each section, then decide if you’d like to follow the recommendations and ideas when delivery time comes. If so, you’d mark it on the checklist.

For example: In the “Fall in Love” section, there’s information about skin-to-skin contact, the magical first hour, baby’s first feeding and delaying procedures. If you want to make skin-to-skin contact part of your experience with your newborn, you’d mark it on the checklist and give it to the hospital to show your nurse. After delivery, you can check to see if your desires were met.

The handouts also have subtopics that break down the sections further, providing deeper explanations to promote better understanding and more involvement from everyone in the process.

The important thing to remember is the app can be used alone as an educational tool, but it can also be paired with the handouts available at hospitals and WIC offices.