Got a pregnant friend? There could be an app for that.

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Hatchr asks you to choose which expectant friends to watch

If you have never been more than 39 weeks pregnant, you may be under the impression that the human gestation period lasts 40 weeks. Hah!  40 weeks, it turns out, is kind of a rough overage. Some babies need to cook for a bit longer. Some babies need to cook a bit less.

But when you have been pregnant for 40 weeks plus 1 day, you discover that nobody pays much attention to the idea that your mileage may vary. The phone begins to ring: Have you got a baby yet? Is everything ok? Don’t you need to run out and get a C-section?

At least, that was my experience with Little Sweetie, who finally materialized 17 days after her supposed due date, without any of the telltale signs of a post-term baby. She just needed a little extra time in the oven, and it was only with some fairly intensive medical intervention (Pitocin, anyone?) that she was persuaded to join us out here in the land of the post-natal.

I remember a very tense two weeks before her birth, during which I finally set our outgoing voicemail to say “No baby yet, and we’re not picking up messages, so you’ll hear when you hear.” These days, expectant parents have a  more efficient option: the Facebook or Twitter update that proclaims, with clarity, that baby has not yet arrived.

But why should the expectant parents be tasked with the job of letting us know the latest about their (non)event? As I’ve waited for news from a couple of dear friends who are expecting their first, I have found myself using their Facebook and Twitter feeds as rough indicators of whether baby might be imminent. If there’s been a tweet within the past few hours, I assume they are not yet in labour. Yes, they are geeky enough that they usually update some social network every hour or two. No, they aren’t so geeky that I would expect them to tweet during the labour itself.

For once, despite what Steve Jobs promised, there is no app for that. Oh sure, there are tons of apps for the pregnant or soon-to-be-parents themselves. But what of the rest of us, the eager fans, friends and family?

Sensing a niche to be filled, and recognizing that nothing says I love you (and your future baby) like the gift of wireframes, here is the app I wish I had right now: hatchr.

Hatchr asks you to choose which expectant friends to watch


Hatchr analyses user profileAdmittedly, this part feels a little intrusive, but hey, there is nothing polite about relentlessly scouring your friends’ social media profiles to figure out if they’re in labour — and it’s more or less the same info you get by looking up a user handle on TweetStats.Status shows "not hatching" based on subject's usual tweeting pattern
And because wireframes aren’t much of a gift if they don’t come with a business model:

Hatching message offers a suggested baby present

To my expectant friends: enjoy these days of anticipation! And to the rest of you: every time you feel the urge to check on an expectant friend, try cooking and freezing a meal for them instead. They’ll appreciate it much more, and soon enough.

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