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Many couples only announce their pregnancy once the first trimester is over. This is when the risk of miscarriage decreases, and you might not want to make any miscarriage you experience public.

Waiting to announce your pregnancy makes sense, then. There could be yet another reason expectant moms enjoy the peace they experience before they let the world know they will have a baby, though. 

Stupid advice

The moment you say you're pregnant, you are going to get comments and "helpful advice" from relatives, friends, vague acquaintances and even total strangers. Most of these folks will be completely well-intentioned. Many of them will be 100 percent wrong. If you're currently pregnant or have already had a baby before, you might have heard stuff like:

  • "Drink beer to make your milk come in."
  • "Your placenta previa will move out the way if only you think positive thoughts."
  • "Don't drink that glucose drink for gestational diabetes. It's bad for you."
  • "Antacids during pregnancy are perfectly safe in unlimited quantities."
  • "Babies sleep better if you add a little gin to their bottle."
  • "Make sure to only feed your breastfed baby on a strict routine, or they'll just learn to manipulate you."

The advice we get from people we don't know hardly at all usually doesn't play much of a role in the actual decision-making process. Nobody is going to add gin to their baby's bottle because some grandma at Walmart suggested this was a good idea. Then, there's the people we just know we can't trust. In real life, most people are probably pretty good at being discerning. We can tell nonsense and good advice apart, and we're more likely to believe our OBGYNs than that creepy neighbor who definitely does not have a medical degree.

Dr Internet?

What's your first source of information about health issues, though? I'll admit that mine is Google, and I bet yours is too. Sure, Google doesn't replace my doctor in any way. I'm not stupid enough to self-diagnose and self-treat with the "help" of a search engine, but when I wonder about certain symptoms or just want info about something that has nothing to do with me so there's not point asking my doctor... I Google. Yes, that's a legitimate verb now. I think. No, I'm not too sure.

Thankfully getting creative with language doesn't have the same devastating results as getting creative with medical information. Wikipedia is the sixth most popular site on the whole web. I bet you use it too. A US research team looked at wikipedia's entries on 10 very common medical conditions, and found that 90 percent contained grave errors. Dr Robert Hasty and his colleagues published their findings in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. This is a great reminder that what makes wikipedia so successful is also what should make you think twice before trusting its information. Wikipedia's entries, though regularly checked by paid staff, is open source and can be edited by anyone. Taking advice from wikipedia isn't all that dissimilar to taking advice from that total stranger we mentioned earlier.

Doctors use wikipedia? Scary!

I'll admit to thinking wiki's info is double checked by professionals these days, and also to thinking that something that's wrong would quickly be edited by someone who sees it's wrong. I'm pretty sure many people are going to agree with me on that one. The worst thing is that the study's research team said up to 70 percent of medical students and PHYSICIANS use wikipedia. Yeah, wikipedia might be a really handy tool for people who want information quickly, but it should never, ever be used as a real diagnostic tool. Let's hope that the medical students and doctors use use wiki don't take the information presented there as fact.

Pregnancy is a really exciting time. New symptoms show up every few weeks, and most expectant mothers are a bit worried about something. Women who are trying to conceive also have plenty of info to look for. The web including wikipedia is great for some information about morning sickness, or why you have cravings, or how to detect ovulation. It's not so great for deciding which medical condition you have, or to help you make decisions about medical problems. Everyone knows that, but this study is a great reminder. Blogs like this one and yes, wikipedia too, are wonderful for women who are looking for information and fun.

When stuff gets serious though, don't forget that most of the things you see on the web could have been written by absolutely anyone. Get your pregnancy health information from their proper places whenever it really matters. And if you don't agree with your midwife, family doctor or OBGYN, seek a second opinion from another doctor! Of course, you can vent about your experiences on the internet in the meantime.

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