Friday, May 23, 2014

What Pregnant Women Google Worldwide

I encountered a post on the New York Times of a Google word analysis of things people search about pregnancy in different parts of the world. I found this fascinating from a cultural perspective. In our globalized world, many of the (male or female) googlers inquiring about pregnancy are concerned with much of the same things.

For instance, the top five keywords searched, in several countries, for "How to ___ during pregnancy" brings up, as the NYT notes, issues of vanity and sex.

Pregnant women (and their family members) are seemingly preoccupied with how to not gain too much weight, not have too many stretch marks, and how to have sex. Even in non-"Western" countries (the ones represented here by the NYT, at least), pregnancy Googlers focus on the same issues. This reflects a desire for the mother to maintain normalcy while pregnant: The typical appearance of ones body (not as the large, stretch-marked person pregnancy often creates), a good amount of sleep, and their regular sex life. A few "stay healthy/fit" items are thrown in, as well, which brings the focus back to the baby.
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When it comes to pregnancy worries, there a lot. No surprise there, with doctors, family members, and strangers alike telling us what we can and cannot do with our bodies while pregnant. But the number one question about what pregnant women can do has to do with... FOOD!

This could reflect 1. The high level of importance of food in our lives (on an hourly basis, in some cases, but at least daily); 2. A high level of rumor and confusion related to whether certain food items are "ok" while others aren't (stemming either from bioscience "rules" or from cultural taboos); 3. Lack of dialogue with care providers not providing enough information about what is safe/unsafe or what might have side effects.
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Interestingly, though, are the ones that stand out -- Brazil's has nothing about food, but wonders at riding a bike, and Spain's women don't know if it is all right to sunbathe.

Important to keep in mind that it may not be the pregnant women themselves who are googling (could be the dads or grandparents-to-be)!

NYT interprets "Can pregnant women _Fly_?" as  flying in an airplane, but if that was really the Google search, I'm thinking:


Now that would be a neat superpower to obtain while pregnant! ;)

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