There are many ways for expecting mothers to prepare for the birth of a child. One can participate in classes to learn about how to better care for a baby, buy baby beds and other necessary items in advance, and even baby-proof the house. Here in Japan, there is one other thing you can do to prepare. You can install a useful mobile app that helps women when they go into labor. It’s called ‘Jintsu-kitakamo‘.
Jintsu Kitakamo can roughly be translated as ‘I think my contractions have started’. It lets you count the time that has passed between each contraction. When the pace between contractions shortens and mothers are close to going into labor, they can call pre-programmed phone numbers with a single tap. It could be your husband’s cell phone number, for example, or the number for a taxi company.
The time you’ve counted can be sent by email, taking away the hassle of texting on your own to update concerned people such as your mother or your husband. The app also provides tips from ‘senpai’ mothers (those with children already) and lets new mothers ask questions regarding pregnancy in general.
In Japan, many taxi companies provide services exclusively for expectant mothers. By registering for the service in advance, these mothers are put on top of wait lists for urgent occasions. One popular service, ‘Jintsu Taxi‘, is provided by major taxi company Nihon Kotsu. A year after its launch, there were around 21,000 registered mothers-to-be, and it has been used 7,710 times. One in five pregnant women have registered to the service.
The birth of your first child can be very stressful, especially when you go into labor. Jintsu Kitakamo may be a very niche service, but it is one that definitely serves a great need.