#Pregnancy (on being pregnant in the digital age)

Pregnancy in a digital society is a new-ish phenomenon that we’re all still learning to navigate. Not only is pregnancy a rollercoaster of terrific and terrifying things that happen at lightening speed ahead of one of the biggest changes in your life, being pregnant and online means that we are the recipients of a whirlwind of resources and information – some good, some not-so-good, opinion and comparison. Phew!

As I reach the 6-month milestone, I’ve put together my favourite digital offerings, as well as a couple I’d recommend avoiding. Ready? Let’s go!

The Good Bits

1. Pregnancy apps

Oh my life. There are SO many. Ovia is by far my favourite. It is user-friendly, helps you to track doctor’s appointments, symptoms, milestones and everything in between. It also features helpful articles and videos on common symptoms for your time of pregnancy and how your baby is doing. I love it! Ovia’s best feature, though? Each week, it will update you on your baby’s development – and you can choose to know how big it is in terms of fruit/vegetables, cute animals or (my firm favourite) Parisian bakery items! This week, Baby Brown is the size of a ‘Buche de Noel’. 

Sprout is another app worth a mention – its 3D imagery links to fascinating information about your baby’s growth each week. I find it really comforting to see what my baby would look like if I could peak in, and watch it grow from a funny little alien-child to now, a fully-proportioned baby!

2. Channelmum weekly videos  

Now, this one comes with a word of caution: online videos, especially on YouTube, are a mixed bag. There is a lot of very personal opinion, some scare-mongering, and some downright rubbish. However, Channelmum’s fabulous series of weekly pregnancy videos have become a lovely part of my journey. I look forward, every Thursday, to checking in. Their weekly videos talk you through baby’s development, common symptoms and stories from other mums-to-be. All presented by the lovely Charlotte Taylor.

3. First 1000 days 

Nutrition in pregnancy and early life is so important, and this is a wonderful guide to how to get it right during baby’s first 3 years of life – including its 9 months in utero. You can check into the website, and/or receive helpful emails with delicious recipes and easy-to-digest (ha ha!) information. 

4. Pea in the Podcast 

This isn’t an active podcast anymore, but its archive of episodes helpfully and warmly cover everything from your wildest pregnancy symptoms to a guide to early newborn days, dads-to-be to cholic. I like to dip in and out when something pops into my mind and have a feeling I’ll be coming back once Baby Brown is here, too!

5. Faraway friends

This one may seem obvious, but as someone who has lived in a few different places, some of my best friends are very far away – so it’s been wonderful to be able to connect over social media…doing things like sharing photos with Switzerland, laughing over bizarre symptoms with Edingurgh and gleaning sleeping tips from the Dominican Republic! 

The Bad Bits

1. Google (or other search engines…)

With a wealth of information at our fingertips, we can (especially in uncertain times) feel an urgent need for reassurance or treatment tips for everything from strange pains to pregnancy zits. I write this the week the BBC published an article about ‘cyber-chondria’! It’s hard to apply a reasonable filter to what comes up in a quick search: we get a mix of professional information, personal experience and opinion, absolute lies (I’m pretty sure…) and worst-case scenarios. I speak from experience: the best thing to do is to turn to your midwife or friends who have been pregnant…and avoid Google! 

2. Forums aka pits of gloom

I mentioned worse-case scenarios above: but it’s worth driving this point home. Friend, pregnancy forums are evil. They are pits of gloom and spirals of misinformation. (If your experience is different, praise the Lord and may your bubble never burst!) People who frequent these forums and share their stories are (mostly) those who are worried and have experienced horrible things. These things do happen, but they are the minority. The problem is they appear to be the majority as you scroll through…so, my recommendation is to stay away and get to know other mums and mums-to-be! 

I’d love to hear how you have found the mix of being pregnant and being online. What other positive sources would you recommend? What else would you stay away from? Let me know! 

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