Millennial moms-to-be know just what to do when they have a pregnancy question — they search the internet for the answer.
Why not? Computers have always been a part of their lives, and they have had cell phones since they were in middle school, maybe earlier. No one knows what is going with their body while they are pregnant, yet there are a tremendous number of rules and recommendations for how to nurture the growing baby. There is no way to keep track of everything without a server or two to back a mom-to-be up. So Google may be a pregnant woman's best friend for nine months.
There have been some studies into the internet search histories of pregnant women, but none of them — or at least none we could find — chart it month-by-month. So we're going to try to cull what we can and explore the interesting and unusual that could only be found in the search history of a hormonal, anxious mom-to-be.
We know that not all of these will apply to everyone because no two pregnancies are alike. But most moms-to-be will have to admit at least a few of these popped up in their cache. Here are the 15 weirdest things moms Google each month of pregnancy.
For some families getting pregnant is pretty easy. For others, it can take work. And some are all about scheduling life and even putting in some time to figure out ways to make sure their family plans go exactly the way they want.
One of the most frequent searches is about getting pregnant, but what is a little weird is the sheer amount of people who ask google about how to conceive a boy or a girl. In the U.S. women are a little more likely to search for "how to conceive a boy" as how to conceive a girl. That comes from a New York Times analysis of internet searches related to pregnancy.
The results also included looks into other countries, and that can be wildly different. In South Korea, women are 6.5 times more likely to search about conceiving a boy. But interesting Koreans who now live in the U.S. are 3.5 times more likely. Weird, huh?
14Am I Preggers?
According to an iflscience.com article, this one simple question is one of the most frequent weird questions given to Google across the entire population. That question is searched about 90,500 times a month — a month — and unfortunately Google doesn't really have the ability to answer.
The internet can bring lots of information about conception and timing and early pregnancy symptoms and pregnancy tests, but without blood or urine or an ultrasound, it's impossible for a server to hold the answer.
The query is likely hinting at those questions, especially the symptoms and the testing. So if a woman has missed her period, she's likely to scour the results until she sees a doctor or her period arrives.
In the second month of pregnancy, many women worry all too much that their pregnancy will be over as quickly as it began. Whether she was trying for the baby or not, she may be stricken with concerns before she has figured out the answer to the "Am I pregnant?" question.
Missing a period is the first — and sometimes best — way to signal the possibility of a baby on board. But sometimes women experience bleeding as a symptom that things are moving forward. It's hard to tell if the blood is coming because of implantation bleeding or if they woman is now officially welcoming Aunt Flo.
Th internet can help solve the mystery. For example, implantation bleeding is usually pretty scant in volume, but if it include clumps of blood or tissue, it is most likely just a regular old period.
12Am I Normal?
The actual phrasing of the question always changes a bit based on the woman's experience, but for most first-time moms and many second-, third- or fourth-timers, the strange symptoms that can overtake them in the first trimester can leave them wondering if what is happening to their body is supposed to happen.
It goes from one extreme to the other — one woman will worry that she is too sick and that the baby isn't getting enough nutrition because she is vomiting too much, while another mom-to-be is concerned that she isn't having morning sickness. From the sore breasts to the bleeding gums and the strange bouts of gas, the symptoms can be hard to interpret and it can leave a woman wondering to the best know source of medical information that she can get — or at least get quickly — the internet. She may end up worrying even more once she consults the search engine, but it won't stop her from frequenting it.
11Can I Eat Shrimp?
After a woman realizes she is pregnant, in the second or third month, she begins to wonder all about the rules for diet and health. The internet is a repository of all of the many dos and don'ts for pregnancy, so many women use Google to keep track.
As she considers her cravings, she googles whether or not they are safe. Can I eat shrimp? What about sushi? The answers are at a woman's finger tips, so before she Instagrams her lunch, she checks with her search engine to make sure that the food is safe for the baby.
These searches happen over and over again — just insert a new food item like cottage cheese, pesto sauce or Ranch dressing. And while it can start as early as the second month, it will keep going for about 36 or so weeks. As the cravings ebb and flow, so may the searches. But the good news is that women don't have to bring their pregnancy book to dinner to figure out what to order.
Even weirder, according to a New York Times article, women in Nigeria often google whether it's safe to drink cold water while pregnant, thanks to a superstition in their country.
Many moms-to-be are young and healthy — even if they are of "advanced maternal age," they are still usually at the point in their lives when they don't often go to the doctor. Then, pregnancy can change everything, and a woman is going in and out of the doctor's office every month, or even more often.
That can throw a mom-to-be for a loop, so she is likely to spend a lot of time on the internet figuring out how to handle the journey. First, she has to decide if she wants to get an OB or a midwife, and she may have to search through her insurance company's site to find a provider who is covered.
Other searches can help her figure out the questions to ask and what to expect in terms of weight checks, blood pressure and other procedures. A woman will get poked and prodded for nine months during pregnancy, so a good google search in month two could do a lot to help her figure out what to expect.
One of the biggest obstacles to understanding the entire process of medical care during pregnancy is understanding all of the prenatal tests. While a doctor or midwife will do their best to explain the options, sometimes a woman needs another place to research all of risks and rewards to the tests and determine what is best for her body and her baby.
Some women have medical histories that make some tests a better idea than others. Some of the tests, like amniocentesis, can be very dangerous. There are various schedules for the tests; for example, chorionic villus sampling, which can detect a number of genetic defects, happens between 10 and 12 weeks, while most amnios are done between 15 and 20 weeks. Googling for prenatal tests peaks in months three and four. That's when a woman should determine what tests she wants to do and which ones to skip.
Having a good doctor is important in pregnancy, but we all have to admit that there are times when we may not feel so comfortable asking questions. Some are more than a little embarrassing, and some women can't get past the embarrassment. We'll go through a few of these searches in a minute, but our first is about cravings, something that may not seem so terrible but could have an awful impact on the baby.
Sure, every woman expects a few crazy cravings like mustard on ice cream or pickles in a bowl of tomato soup. But sometimes things get wrong, and there are a lot of cravings that can be dangerous. Pica is an affliction that causes women to want to eat things like rocks and paper — and the internet will remind them that isn't a good idea.
But what is weird is that the New York Times found that one of the top searches in the U.S. is about craving ice while pregnant. That isn't so dangerous, although it can bad for your teeth.
7Can I Take Tylenol?
With so many limitations on what a woman can and cannot do while pregnant, it isn't surprising that there are tons of Google searches on those issues. We've already mentioned some food-related searches, but the New York Times article mentioned one worry that seems to be more prominent in the U.S. than the other countries that were studied. That is the concerns about medications.
Part of the problem with that is the rules keep changing. A few years ago, everyone thought that Tylenol was the safest pain medication to take while pregnant, but then a research study linked it to ADHD in children.
Plus, in the U.S. it seems that just about everyone takes medication for something — from skin problems to anxiety. It's really common, but many of the medications can be dangerous for the growing fetus. While the internet can give some insight, we just want to mention that
In the fourth or fifth month, most women are no longer able to button their regular jeans, so this is when they start googling. Even if a woman is struggling with giving up her stylish clothes and shoes, a good internet search may help her feel better.
There are much better choices these days in maternity fashion, and Google and Yahoo and Bing and all are usually pretty quick to show the most in style options — with some ads to the top stores and brands, of course.
Maternity clothes are one of the top internet searches of pregnant women, but there are also some strange searches that can come in. Halloween costumes could become interesting, and some women add a few unusual advantages, such as "goth" or maybe "sexy." That can add to the unusual.
OK, this one may come more often from the men, according to some reports, but many internet searches can help reveal the answer as to how to continue to get a little lovin' in before the baby comes.
We suspect that the peak of searches for women came about month five, when the mom experiences the second trimester surge of hormones that can make her feel randy just about all the time. For a few months, she can be insatiable, to the point that some men wonder how to keep up.
Then, a crash comes in the third trimester, when the belly gets in the way of everything. That's when the men are probably hitting Google to figure out how they can get a little action in a way that is safe and comfortable for the mom. After all, the baby's birth will throw a wrench in things for a couple of months or so, so a man has to do what he has to do in the meantime.
In the sixth or seventh month, the belly bump can cause some real concern among moms-to-be. And many of them turn to the internet with their worries about the growth getting out of control. The New York Times article said that "how to prevent stretch marks" is one of the top searches for women in Australia, Canada and the United States.
The answer may not be what they want — it's pretty much impossible to stop yourself from getting stretch marks because they tend to be genetic. However, the search may remind women that they shouldn't over indulge in their cravings. Putting on excess weight can certainly stretch the skin a little too much. She may also learn a little bit about moisturizing her skin, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
The internet is amazing, and it seems to have all the answers. If only it could help with the genetics that mostly determine whether you get stretch marks.
3What Does A Contraction Feel Like?
Many women scoff at the idea of not being able to tell when they are in labor. But in reality, when their bodies are full of the aches and pains of third trimester pregnancy, they can start to wonder about every strange sensation.
In month seven or eight, things can get really interesting. Between the indigestion and the back aches and the baby kicking and the pelvic pain and the round ligament pain, there are so many things that can have a woman wondering if she is going into labor.
Braxton Hicks can get everybody confused, and many women are embarrassed if they head to the hospital only to be sent home again. That is where the internet comes in. Probably more often than the doctor would like, moms-to-be often turn to Dr. Google when they are wondering if that pain is the real thing. But we recommend that a mom-to-be head to the hospital if she experiences severe pain or if the contractions are getting closer together.
Speaking of signs of labor, in month eight or nine, a mom-to-be is searching for signs that the baby is ready to come out, including one surprise that can come in the bathroom — the mucus plug.
But of course, even if they have already had another baby, many aren't really sure what it is supposed to look like. Most sites describe the mucus plug as a thick discharge that can be yellowish or streaked with blood or even brownish. It can be hard to envision. And when you are at the end of pregnancy and really hoping that every discharge is a sign of labor, you may need more than description to figure it out. That's when the Google image search comes into play.
Before the pregnancy or even halfway through, it's hard to imagine that one day your search history would say "what does a mucus plug look like?" — but that is one of the weird things that happens when a baby is on the way.
1How Do I Get The Baby Out?
After watching for signs for weeks, in the ninth — or, dare we say, tenth — month, many moms-to-be get a little antsy about getting that baby out. And the internet, of course, can have all the answers.
In recent years, doctors have become less willing to use induction medication without a medical reason, but sometimes there is a reason to get the baby born sooner than the body seems to be doing. For example, a woman with gestational may have a date for an induction coming up because of the concern for stillbirth after 39 weeks. And if a mother has gone beyond her due date, she is undoubtedly uncomfortable and ready to evict her little one and get her body back.
That's when the internet searches can get really weird. A mom-to-be will ask Google or Siri or Alexa "do spicy foods start labor?" Then it is "best way to induce labor" and finally "best sex positions for starting labor."
Eventually one will work, and then the internet search history becomes filled with questions about the baby — from how to increase the milk supply to what color the poop should be. Google is a woman's best friend in pregnancy and motherhood.
Sources: New York Times, Baby Center, What to Expect
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