If you’ve spent time online lately, you’ve probably come across plenty of pregnancy-related pictures and updates. Most expectant moms turn to the Internet for information and advice and to share what they’re going through. But how much should you reveal on social media -- and at what point in your pregnancy?
“There’s no set answer,” says Siobhan Dolan, MD, a New York-based OB/GYN and medical advisor to the March of Dimes. Even so, there are several things to ask yourself before you click “post” on your computer or smartphone. These four questions can help you feel good about the social media decisions you make while you’re pregnant.
“How Will I Feel If Something Goes Wrong?”
Experts often say to wait until after your first trimester to inform friends and family -- either in person or online -- that you’re having a baby. The reason? During the first 3 months, more than 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. But the odds drop to less than 5% after the first trimester. That makes it a “safer” time to share.
“Miscarriage is almost always a very sad and emotionally difficult event,” says David Adamson, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist and a founder of ARC Fertility in San Jose, CA. Before you post about a new pregnancy, Adamson recommends asking yourself, “Can I tell this group of people bad news, too, if I have to?”
“How Do I Feel About This Pregnancy?”
Rosie Pope took social media on a case-by-case basis when she was pregnant with each of her four children. During the second pregnancy, she posted almost nothing about the experience.
“I had a difficult time conceiving between my first and second kids. That made me wary of sharing,” says the 36-year-old.
But when she was expecting her third child, “I flipped in the other direction. I talked about my pregnancy a lot on Facebook and Twitter, and even live-tweeted my birth,” says Pope, who’s the founder of MomPrep, which offers prenatal and postnatal classes and training. “I was more comfortable that time around and thought it could help other expecting women learn about the birthing experience.”
“Am I Ready to Deal With Questions or Upsetting Comments?”
Social media is, well, social. While you may get lots of support within your network, some responses to your posts or pictures will be less than helpful.
“Pregnancy deals with medical things that many people find difficult to discuss,” Adamson says. It can bring up tricky social and religious issues, too.
Trouble is, hormones and life changes mean pregnancy is already a time of high emotions. And it’s important for your own health, your baby’s, to reduce stress. “People can be unkind, often even unintentionally. And that can be really upsetting,” Pope says.
To minimize conflict, “Don’t put up information that might encourage others to ask questions you don’t want to answer,” Adamson says. You may want to also steer clear of in-depth medical issues, family topics, and information that could affect your work or career.
If people do make stinging remarks, “Know that what others say is more about them than you,” Pope says.
“How Does My Partner Feel About This?”
If you’re in a committed relationship with the other parent of your child, ask what they’re comfortable with before you share. You don’t want to put anything online that might be upsetting or embarrassing,” Adamson says.
Even a quick, “So what do you think?” conversation can help you avoid relationship rifts and get on the same page. You might learn, for example, that your partner doesn’t mind if you discuss your birth choices but would rather you didn’t mention the name you two have chosen for your baby.
And Remember …
Social media only tells one side of the story. And that side is usually pretty polished. “If others are making everything seem perfect, you might feel pressure to make your pregnancy look ideal, too,” Dolan says. “In truth, what’s most important is that you, and your baby, are healthy.”
Keeping that in mind can go a long way toward keeping social media stress-free and enjoyable while you wait for your baby to arrive.