You have symptoms, and despite your deepest, most powerful desire not to panic, you get nervous. And you Google them. But how to do it properly?
I am new to pregnancies, this is a total unknown subject to me, if you don’t count the numerous movie references that probably have nothing to do with the reality. And sometimes, I have weird symptoms. Symptoms that I have not read about or heard about before.
So I do what any other first time pregnant woman does in these circumstances – I Google the symptoms.
Big mistake. That is the very first thing you should NOT do.
Because Internet is a mess. Amongst legit, genuine websites, there are hundreds of thousands of places with absolute rubbish disguised as information.
So my first advice to you, worried sister, is that you shouldn’t go to the Internet as soon as you have a symptom. But if REALLY feel like you need to Google it, please follow this guideline to have a better experience.
SAFE GUIDELINE FOR GOOGLING YOUR SYMPTOMS
Careful with what you search for
The way that search engines are configured, any query you enter is going to return results.
Let’s say you have a headache and you want to know if headache is a common symptom during pregnancy.
If you search for:
You get the following results on the first page:
As you can see, the results are in sync with your search, which was negative and already assuming the worst, and it’s showing articles that are panic inducing and will make you feel more nervous.
If instead you would search for:
You would get more neutral results, which is what you need, because you don’t assume if the symptom is good or bad, you just want to know if it’s common during pregnancy:
The thing is, headaches can sometimes be a sign of a complication, but most of the times headaches during pregnancy are normal and non-dangerous. And you are going to find many situations like this during your research, so be prepared and do not let yourself get carried away by negative articles.
Navigate through the garbage
Not only can some articles be panic-inducing, some articles are outdated and do not quote any legitimate sources of information. When reading an article related to health, make sure it links to valid sources like medical documents.
Listen only to experts
Sometimes, articles are written by people who are not experts in the field. When you are searching for causes of symptoms you cannot trust just anyone. Check if the author is a professional doctor or has a valid certification. You would probably not take advice on architecture from a botanist, so don’t listen to claims from people who are not legitimate.
Do not compare yourself to others
Every woman is different. We experience our cycles in a different way and we live different lifestyles. You can’t expect that if a woman has a specific symptom you are going to get it too, or vice-versa. And what can be dangerous for some people may not be problematic for others. The key is to get distance from the information and understand that all data is relative and most of the times we are talking about percentages and probabilities, which do not need to apply every single time.
Use common sense
So use your logic to separate what is nonsense from what is useful. Do not believe blankly without giving it a proper thought. Is the information relevant for you? Does it apply for your specific circumstances? Do you really feel exactly the same symptoms or maybe you are exaggerating them? Analyze rationally and you won’t be fooled.
Avoid expanding the panic
The worst thing one can do after being induced by panic is to propagate it. If you feel nervous or stressed, think twice before writing a comment that can make someone else worried too. We are all vulnerable and we should be sending encouraging and positive messages only. It’s the only way we can help each other.
Ultimately, ask your doctor
Because your case is unique to you and because you cannot trust everything you read on-line, ultimately the answer to your worries should be provided by your doctor. They know you, they have your history, they met you personally and they have the knowledge. No one else knows better than them so when in doubt, ask your doctor.