Contraction Timer

For the labor coach, husband, or midwife keeping track of a pregnant woman's labor

Contraction Timer is released under the GPL. Use it if you think it will help you have a better birth experience. Since Contraction Timer was first released, it has been downloaded more than 100,000 times from various sites! It's still free, even though its only competitor charges more than $10 a copy for his version. Still, if one out of every 10 people who used Contraction Timer had sent me just one dollar, I could afford the electric car I'm working on, and so desperately need right now.

So here's the deal. Contraction Timer is not only free (as in beer), but Free (as in speech)! Please consider donating a small amount to help me out. Here are the easy PayPal donation buttons:

Here is the download information for Contraction Timer:

Use shift-click or "Save link as..." to download .prc files. My Mac using friend says that you should save as text (not source) to get a usable file.
From this website
Version 2.12.3 Check out PalmGear HQ for a .prc file.
ctimer.sit -- The source code, as required by the GPL.

If you have any problem with Contraction Timer, or with this page, just e-mail or send me feedback through this form.

Looking for an online contraction timer? This version from Pregnancy And Baby is probably just what you need.

Contraction Timer animated screenshot Contraction Timer is a utility for tracking a pregnant woman's contractions. When my wife had our second child, a friend of ours used the MemoPad in her Palm to keep track of the contractions. Of course, this involved some math, and when you're in the middle of the birth it's easy to make errors. Contraction Timer reduces the complexity to punching a button, and keeps track of the rest itself.

You get large buttons, so you don't even need the stylus for basic operations. Just press the "Started" button whenever a new contraction starts, and press the "Ended" button when it ends. Contraction Timer will keep track of the start time of each contraction, the spacing between them (from the beginning of each contraction, just like your professional midwife or doctor needs), and the length of each contraction. The newest version even has an elapsed-time counter that updates every five seconds (or whenever you click it).

Contraction Timer is also aware that a contraction can start while a previous contraction is still occurring. (Sorry to disillusion anyone. :) You don't even need to press the "Ended" button when this happens; when you press "Started," Contraction Timer will end any ongoing contractions and start the next one automatically.

Contraction Timer remembers all Contraction Timer remembers when the last contraction started, even if you have to exit the program to handle an alarm, so you can use it with confidence.

You can also keep notes with Contraction Timer. Pressing the "Edit" button (between the scroll arrows) lets you add or change notes. If a line is selected, that contraction will be edited. If no line is selected, but a contraction is occurring, the current contraction will be edited. If nothing is selected and no contractions are occuring, Contraction Timer adds a log entry at the current time -- useful for keeping track of food, exercise, medications, or anything else you want. It even displays as much of the note as possible in the list, so you can have an idea of what you're looking at.

Get the doctor! There's even a notification feature, which gives a visual and audible signal when contractions reach 3:00 apart or less by flashing an exclamation point (!) in the notification button once per second and playing a two-note sound every 30 seconds. You can press the notification button to enable and disable this feature; more sophisticated options may be available in the future.

She's here! When it's all over, you can export the log to MemoPad, so you can edit it, HotSync it to your computer, print it out, and save it for posterity. With Contraction Timer 2.12.3 and above, you can export in CSV format, so you can import it to OpenOffice Calc or your favorite spreadsheet and make graphs and charts!

Contraction Timer uses its own list and table algorythms, so it's compatible with all Palms, from OS 1.0 to OS 3.5, including the original Pilot and the color Palm IIIc. It has been tested extensively with the PalmOS Emulator Gremlins, with several different models of Palms.


  • Stylus-free operation
  • Scrollable log
  • The most important data in the format your professional midwife or doctor needs
  • Elapsed time counter
  • Visual and audible 3:00 notification
  • MemoPad export
  • Works on all versions of Palm
  • GPL! (Again, if you want to send me a buck...)

To do:

  • Add time editing capability
  • Built-in events, with filters
  • Convert to SuperWaba for use on more devices, including cell phones
Stuff I might consider:
  • Add graphs (Why would anyone need them?)
  • Loses the note if you exit while editing.

Okay, I'm ready to download it! Back to the top!

Frequently Asked Questions

What's up with the donation buttons? Isn't Contraction Timer free?
YES. In fact, now it's Free. I'm releasing the source under the GPL, so you can be sure a version of Contraction Timer will always be available. I've always mentioned that you can feel free to send me some money, if you think Contraction Timer made your birth experience better; now I really need some cash, because I'm building an electric car to replace my breaking. So I made it easier to donate, since you can just click the PayPal button in the amount you like best. But rest assured, it's still free.

Launcher display I know I HotSynced, but it's not on my Palm!
The name "Contraction Timer" is too long for the launcher. I shortened it to "Labor Timer." That's still too long for my Palm IIIx, which shows it as "Labor Time," but I figure that's reasonably clear. If you can figure out a better name, let me know. Meanwhile, I apologize for any confusion.

What exactly do the "Freq" and "Len" columns show?
"Freq" is the Frequency of contractions and Len is the Length of the current contraction. Frequency is really "How Far Apart," but that wouldn't fit on the screen. This information is not averaged in any way; it's an instantaneous measurement.

To be specific, Contraction Timer finds the Frequency of contractions by subtracting the start time of the previous contraction from the start time of this contraction. In short, it measures how far apart the beginning of each contraction is.

It calculates the length of a contraction pretty much like you would expect: it subtracts the start time from the end time.

I don't need notification. Is there any way to turn it off?
Sure. Just press the notification button until it's disabled.

For reference, here's a picture of Contraction Timer (with the notification button) waiting for the next contraction, and ready to start flashing and beeping if the next contraction comes closer than 3:00:

And here's the same thing with notifications disabled:

I turned off all the sounds in my system preferences, but the Contraction Timer beep is still audible!
I know. Sorry. To make Contraction Timer compatible with all Palms, I couldn't use the 2.0 functions that let you look at system preferences easily. Instead, I would have to use the 1.0 functions that make you look at the entire preference database, and I have no idea where to find the sound preferences in there. If you know, write me and I'll fix it. If enough people really need to control their notification sound, I'll modify the code to use the system prefs on 2.x and above devices only, and leave 1.0 owners out in the cold.

Of course, you can always disable notifications altogether. See the previous question.

What's a professional midwife?
When my children were born, we went to a birthing center. All the midwives there were "nurse-midwives". As I discovered from a comment below, it turns out that at least 23 states certify midwives who are not nurses. These are fully qualified midwives, trained to provide birth services. I use the term "professional midwife" to include all these people.

Hey, there's a problem with your program!
Well, I'll need a little more information than that. Send me an e-mail, and be as detailed as you possibly can. I'll do whatever I can to fix the problem.

I'm really sorry if you've suffered any data loss or other inconvenience, but I can't really be held responsible. I've tested Contraction Timer with several models of Palm, including stress testing with Palm Computing's PalmOS Emulator. I've registered it with Palm Computing. I've used it myself in real life. It's as bug-free as I can make it. But I can't do anything if somebody else messed up my database, wrote a program with my Creator ID (the registration code Palm Computing gave me), hacked a system call I use, or otherwise caused havoc.

You know, it's nice, but it needs...
Great idea! Why don't you e-mail it to me? I'll see if I can make it fit on the screen. Or, since Contraction Timer is now released under the GPL, you can modify it yourself... if you've got the guts.

Wow, that was really helpful! I'd like to send you some money!
Oh, you're too kind. Really. Keep your money, I don't need it. Hold on a minute... yes, I do! Here are the friendly PayPal donation buttons again:

Okay, I'm ready to download it! Back to the top!