how i learned to stop over-researching my pregnancy
Today I want to talk about this thing called the Internet. I find it most useful for cat videos, macaroni and cheese recipes, and watching old episodes of my favorite SNICK shows, but it apparently does a lot more.
One rabbit hole that is all too common for newly-pregnant women to fall into is Googling pregnancy topics. Even before you ARE pregnant, you might find yourself searching for things like ovulation calculators, your basal body temperature and optimal ... positioning. This is all well and good and, generally speaking, shouldn't throw you into too many paroxysms of stress. Emphasis on too. For me, the problem started after I found out I was pregnant and before I went to the doctor for the first time.
Here's the TL;DR, guys: STOP GOOGLING EVERY WEIRD "SYMPTOM" YOU THINK YOU HAVE. Did I know what a blighted ovum was before I got pregnant? No. Did I ever really need to know what this was? No. But did spending too much time on the What to Expect message boards lead me to believe that nearly every first trimester pregnancy mishap might befall me? Yes.
If you have real concerns about anything, ASK YOUR DOCTOR. The internet is not a substitute for a medical degree (I'm looking at you, WebMD). You will save yourself countless hours of stress (not to mention more time spent off the computer, which is better for you and baby) if you can curb your internet addiction in its early stages. I found that after I was able to wean myself off checking every baby site, message board and app every few hours, it was much easier just to focus on MY pregnancy and what was happening to MY body versus thinking about all of the possible scenarios that the internet presented me with.
Does that mean that I was totally worry-free during my first trimester? No, and I doubt that many pregnant women are. Of course you're concerned about miscarrying or what the first genetic test results will tell you or any other number of hurdles you'll have to jump over. And for most of us, you're keeping the news a secret, which means you don't even have a lot of your friends to confide in. But needless worry -- finding problems to stress over that you didn't even know existed before -- that's the kind of stress that no one, especially newly pregnant women, needs.
Now, that's not to say that the Internet, Google, and message boards are not without their uses. The aforementioned WTE boards are organized by due date month and it was a pretty cool place to check in with other women who were all experiencing the same symptoms and feelings around the same time I was. For the record, I was never a poster, just a lurker, but I did find it interesting.
Now, in my third trimester, I do have a few apps on my phone that I check every few days. I especially like the What to Expect app for its weekly videos and Baby Bump for the nifty pregnancy slideshow feature. I've been tracking my bump profile in photos weekly and it's nice to be able to see how it's changed almost in real time. I have stopped going to any of those message boards completely though, and if I ever do have a question (like when I thought I blinded our baby by playing with a flashlight on my belly), I ask my doctor.
Have any wisdom on how to cut down on stress or Googling? Share it in the comments!