More than one mom friend has told me she completely avoids going online when her child is displaying symptoms of illness. You can come across some really scary stuff, and you never know what might actually apply to your child.
I take the opposite approach. The first day I found out I may have a rare pregnancy condition (cholestasis), I spent a few hours online trying to see what it might mean for me and my baby. I got the worst case scenario a lot: “Your baby may die!”
I didn’t sleep much that first night.
But I dug deeper the next day. Continuing my research and finding a variety of types of websites to pull information from, I came to understand the details and get a more reasonable grasp on the risks and progression of the condition.
When looking online, the websites that show up first in search results often seem to mirror the same information.It’s helpful to remind yourself to get past thepopular websites. You need to collect information from a variety of sources.Try looking at information from each of these sources to pull together a more complete, rounded body of knowledge:
- Physician-reviewed websites like WebMD.com (a good place to start but often too generalized to relate exactly to your symptoms).
- Forums where members all comment on their own cases (you’ll get the widest view of possibilities and learn how others’ doctors are approaching it in real life).
- Medical-oriented websites from other countries (I found a UK site to be most helpful when researching cholestasis).
- Websites run by related industry organizations (there may be a non-profit foundation set up to educate and benefit those who suffer from the condition you’re researching).
- Blogs of individuals going through what you are experiencing (you may be able to identify emotionally).
Whatever you do, don’t get scared and stop. If you keep digging, you will eventually reach a point where you feel empowered with knowledge, able to separate hype and misinformation from what you really need to know, so you’re ready to have a well-informed chat with your doctor.
Turns out the risk of death to my baby is barely any more than that of a woman without cholestasis, especially since my doctor is approaching this condition with the standard precautionsaccepted throughout the medical community. And I can be confident in her care partly because I know from my own research she is taking all the necessary steps that will guide my family through the last few weeks of this pregnancy.
I sleep much better at night now. (Well, as much as can be expected when you’re 34 weeks pregnant!)