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We live in a WebMD world. Feeling sick? Google it. Not sure how much ibuprofen it’s okay to take at once? Google it. It’s almost second nature to turn to the internet for medical advice nowadays. But as anyone who’s tried to get pregnant in probably the past 10 years knows, there’s almost a heightening to the frenzy of search terms you find yourself thumbing in when you’re hoping to add to your family.
And that’s just the thing: the hope. Because normally when you’re Googling a symptom, what’s driving you is mostly annoyance, with a little dread (Am I dying?!
). But when you’re trying to conceive, the emotions are so much more mixed. You’re desperate to think that what’s going on means you’re pregnant, and terrified that it means you’re not. It’s a real mindfuck, kids.
I’m on month eight of trying to get knocked up, and while my Google obsession has slowed, I’m still pretty regularly tapping the colorful G to look up some wacky thing. Unfortunately, the medical information on the interwebs for hopeful parents is largely so bad.
The reliable-seeming data you can find is stuff you already know, and answers for your weirder questions are only available on message boards, often filled with judgey people who exclusively speak in acronyms. Which you then have to Google.
That’s why I decided to round up a selection of the stuff I’ve searched the internet for since I started this process — from the understandable to the quite odd. And because Dr. Google hasn’t exactly been getting five stars on ZocDoc for me, I also called an actual fertility doctor to
get free medical advice
find out the truth about these search terms.
I spoke with Alan Copperman, MD, director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Mount Sinai Hospital and medical director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York
, and he was super comforting: “Everyone wants to know if what they’re feeling is normal or if there’s reason for concern,” Dr. Copperman says. “With heightened awareness comes anxiety, and you treat that with control, and you get that control from acquiring more information.
“The best thing a woman who’s feeling anxious can do is find a reliable source, which could be a physician or a reliable source on the internet, and maybe the worst thing she could do is rely on bad information,” he says. The bottom line: It’s okay to get emotional support and resources from an online community, but when it comes to medical advice? Step away from the laptop.
So here we go: the 27 weirdest things I’ve googled since I started trying to get pregnant — and some real talk from an MD about each one.