Version Reviewed: 1.1.2
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Nine Months! is a thoughtfully produced documentary app about the development of a baby growing inside mom’s belly. It's broken down into nine chapters that do a great job of explaining, in wonderful detail, the growth from embryo to fetus and culminating in a live birth.
The major part of this app is seen as a cross-section of a woman’s belly, with the baby becoming larger and more developed month after month, including details such as the uterus complete with cervix, placenta, and umbilical cord, as well as details of how the baby’s body develops.
I appreciate how this app has modest interactive elements to engage children. One can tap buttons that define parts of the baby during its evolution such as the amniotic sac, umbilical cord, and heart. Other buttons that can be tapped include length and weight measurements, complete with child-friendly comparisons such as a child being born at the weight of a cat as well as ultrasound photos.
Parents who check out this app may raise an eyebrow at the iTunes rating of 17+ and may wonder if this app is right for their child. Presumably this rating is due to the tasteful nudity of seeing the mother’s unclothed side view of her breast, including after the baby is born and when she nurses her child, which children might be seeing for the first time. Yet her external genitalia are not seen during the birthing process in which one can see the baby travel through the birth canal and out of the woman’s body.
Parents should also note that there are two chapters included before the fetal development section of this app dealing with conception and fertilization marked with heart and sperm icons. The conception area includes the term “Making Love” and shows a man and woman lying in bed with the covers pulled up over them, which to children will look like sleeping. This app, however, does not explain what “making love” actually is beyond the fact that the man releases sperm “into the woman’s belly” or how this translates to the next chapter that shows sperm traveling into the vagina, making their way up to meet the waiting egg. I am impressed that this app also talks about the need for good timing in getting pregnant as a calendar is shown, and it is explained that only during certain days near ovulation can conception occur.
It would be nice if 9 Months! had a parental control section where one could choose to hide chapters of this application that parents may wish to postpone. My son had been curious from an early age about how he was born, and my semi-scientific answer of him having grown from an egg in my belly that develops into a baby has been enough for now to answer this question. My boy, I am sure, felt mature as I explained about ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the idea of an embryo implanting into my uterus that grows and grows, having left out the father's genetic contribution to this equation for another day.
Although I am in no way offended by the conception section of this app, I do think this area opens the door for more questions without giving parents tools to answer these sometimes touchy subjects - specifically as to how the man and woman “make love,” where the sperm comes from, and how it gets into the vagina. These are questions that I am not ready to answer mainly because they have not been asked, making me not quite comfortable leaving this app on our iPad to find, preferring it was locked in such a way to just focus on fetal development.
Having said this, 9 Months! would be a wonderful app for children to have full access to if parents are comfortable with their children being exposed to and asking about conception, making this an app I will definitely re-download once my husband and I decide to have our own talk with our son and we are ready to fully explain the process of making a baby.
I do believe that this app can serve many ages, including older children ready for the answers to hard questions as well as for teens and even adults. This app does a great job of showing the complex development of a baby, nicely broken down month by month, complete with mild animated movements of the baby moving and and video-like scenes such as within the fertilization section as children can watch a sperm connect with an egg or how the baby travels through the birthing process - all of which bring a sense of realism to this app that I appreciate. Also nice is the father's presence at the cutting of the cord after delivery, as well as part of a family portrait of sorts that ends this highly educational application.
Past the ability to have parental control over some of the chapters, this app uses the metric system to explain the length and weight of the baby as it grows instead of inches and pounds or ounces, which most American children are used to. Therefore, it would also be a nice touch to have these figures converted to the US measuring system as an option, much the same way one can choose a language - now commonplace in apps that contain more than one language.
Even with these notes, I found 9 Months! to be quite informative. I do look forward to showing much of this app to my son but will wait a while before showing him the areas involving conception and fertilization. This is an app that I highly recommend, but parents may want to screen it for themselves before giving their little ones free access to it on their iPads.