What Do Pregnant Women Worry About?

I know what you're thinking, "That's a loaded question!" What don't pregnant women worry about? We're concerned about what we should and shouldn't be eating; how to get sleep when we're not used to sleeping on our side; how to afford maternity leave; what the heck is going on with our ever-changing bodies; fill in the blank!

What's interesting is we now have a sneak peek into what pregnant women around the world are Googling, thanks to researcher Seth Stephens-Davidowitz—who has a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard—and his recent piece in the New York Times. He studied anonymous, aggregate Google search data from 20 countries to get inside the heads of pregnant women to see what they are truly worrying about.

As it turns out, the top safety-related questions in the U.S. are: Can pregnant women "eat shrimp," "drink wine," "drink coffee" and "take Tylenol"? In Canada, their biggest concern is whether or not they can eat dairy products, especially cream cheese (pregnant women are at a higher risk of getting listeria from unpasteurized cheeses). In Nigeria, the top question is whether pregnant women can drink cold water (in some countries it is thought to give your baby pneumonia). Meanwhile, in Mexico, the fifth most common question is: Can pregnant women wear heels? And they rarely ask about whether pregnant women can eat shrimp or drink wine.

How-tos are another area where there are huge differences of concern by country. In the United States, Australia, and Canada, the top search is "how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy?" But in Ghana, India, and Nigeria, preventing stretch marks is not in the top five. Instead, they are more likely to search "how to have sex" or "how to sleep" while pregnant. Surprisingly, in India, one of the top searches beginning with "my husband wants," and/or "how to" and "my husband" is "how to breastfeed my husband." Luckily, that's not a big trend in the United States!

The place where most pregnant women seem to be on the same page is when it comes to their pregnancy symptoms—and what's worrying them. Searches like "nausea," "back pain" and "constipation" in conjunction with "pregnant" seem to come up consistently in the U.S., Britain, Australia, and India. I always say that pregnancy is the great equalizer. No matter where you're from, how much money you have, or even how famous you are, for better or worse pregnancy symptoms are the same no matter what. We're all in this together, ladies!

TELL US: What pregnancy concerns have you Googled?

Image of pregnant woman on a computer courtesy of Shutterstock.

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