Pregnancy and parenting: there’s a Yukon app for that

Whether you have a bun in the oven or you're chasing after a crawling toddler, you'll soon be able to download an all-encompassing app designed to help Yukoners have healthy children.

Whether you have a bun in the oven or you’re chasing after a crawling toddler, you’ll soon be able to download an all-encompassing app designed to help Yukoners have healthy children.

A team of local physicians, programmers and designers has joined up to create Yukon Baby.

The app was conceived during Hacking Health, an event held in May that drew more than 100 innovators from across western Canada.

The goal was to brainstorm ideas to help improve health care in the North.

Health-care providers had one minute to pitch their ideas, while programmers and designers listened closely and picked their favourite projects to work on.

Shannon Ryan, a genetic counsellor in the Yukon, was part of a team of three that pitched the idea of an app for parents and parents-to-be.

The team, also made up of a physician and midwife, paired up with three local programmers and worked on a rudimentary version of the app for 48 hours that weekend.

Several months later, the app is almost finished and will likely be available in February, said Ryan.

She says it’ll be a great tool for Yukoners because it’ll give them a good idea of where all the closest resources are.

“Sometimes it’s hard for health-care providers to keep up with all the resources that are out there for parents,” she said.

This app, Ryan explains, is designed to offer all the resources an expectant mother would need to keep her baby healthy throughout pregnancy.

“There is a lot of turnover in the health-care field, too. When you’re a pregnant mother, everything is new.

“With this tool you’ll know where to get your tests, what you can expect during pregnancy, where can you go.”

Ryan became involved in the project because she wanted to find a way to help decrease the number of birth defects in the territory. Part of her responsibilities as a genetic counsellor includes birth defect surveillance.

According to a 2013 report on congenital anomalies in Canada, the Yukon has the fourth-highest congenital anomaly rate of any jurisdiction in the country. It also has the third-highest congenital heart defect rate.

That same report states that in Canada, approximately one in 25 infants is diagnosed yearly with one or more congenital anomalies.

The app will prioritize any community-specific resources. So if you’re expecting a child in Dawson City, the health centre on Church Street will likely pop up first.

Ryan said they’ve also incorporated fun tools to encourage parents to keep using the app, such as a contraction and a kick counter. There is also a place to input “baby firsts,” whether it’s a tooth, a step or a word.

Financial support for the app is close to being finalized.

“That’ll be extremely helpful so we don’t have to do this on our own time, and we can get paid for the hours that we put into this,” she said.

The first version of the app, available for free, will be for Android devices and then for iPhones.

Down the road it’ll be translated into French and eventually, turned into a dedicated website.

“Not everyone has a smartphone,” Ryan said.

“We heard from some of the community nurses that they would prefer to have something computer-based with their clients.”

A soft launch is planned in the early New Year so that the bugs can be worked out and feedback can be gathered ahead of an official launch.

“It’s great to see that our team is super motivated and wants to get this out,” Ryan said.

“The support we’ve received so far has been very positive. Community nurses are seeing this as a tool they can use to engage women.

“Most young women have a smartphone and they’re always on it, anyway.”

Contact Myles Dolphin at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes


Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Ken Anderson’s Sun and Moon model sculpture sits in the snow as he carves away at the real life sculpture behind Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous festival in Whitehorse on Feb. 21, 2018. Yukon Rendezvous weekend kicks off today with a series of outdoor, virtual and staged events. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Rendezvous snowpad, live music and fireworks this weekend

A round-up of events taking place for the 2021 Rendezvous weekend

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. The proposed Atlin Hydro Expansion project is moving closer to development with a number of milestones reached by the Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership and Yukon Energy over the last several months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Atlin hydro project progresses

Officials reflect on milestones reached

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read