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There's a smart phone application for almost everything and pregnancy trackers have gotten their fair share of recent downloads.

Drew Harwell is an A.I. & big data reporter with The Washington Post and has been researching them.

"These apps are like Fitbits on steroids," said Harwell. "They're a tracker that women can use to log their health and their mood when they are trying to conceive, currently pregnant or have just given birth. They're really popular right now because women can see what size their baby is right now--compared to a  fruit or a small animal."

He noted he's seen a trend where users are voicing concerns about privacy issues.

"That data does not always just stay with them and in some cases goes directly to their companies or their health insurers in a sort of aggregated way," he said. "It allows a woman's boss to know how many women have had high-risk pregnancies, a c-section, when they plan to return to work and other general details that women would otherwise keep to themselves."

Harwell cited there are terms of use that are agreed to when you subscribe to the applications and their services.

"These are the things we consent to when we sign up for these apps. In them, they say that we can use this data in an aggregated way to target advertising to you or to submit for scientific research or your insurers," he added. "There are cases where women are using it with their companies--there is that recognition that the company is going to know a bit of what they are getting into."

Those cases, noted Harwell, often come with some form of compensation.

"Companies offer this in the banner of corporate wellness by saying they want to do this in a way that the women will be healthier and maybe they'll save themselves some insurance money and get better outcomes," he said. "The companies also pay the women a bit, too, to incentive them to track their progress. There's all sorts of incentives to use these apps."

Harwell hinted at the best way to keep your information private is to avoid the apps, but that if you want the product that there will be that risk that you did not read the fine print, so just be careful.

"That's the story with a lot of these data, privacy services," he added. "There's a little bit of incentive at the beginning and the harms are so conceptual that a lot of people just end up signing up and asking, what's the big deal?"

This article originally ran on wdel.com.

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