The Dangers of Mom Googling (and having a close relationship with Dr. Google)

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Hey y’all! Jess here to share all my embarrassing stories with you!

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We have all been there. As many of you, I started seeing Dr. Google when I got pregnant. Turns out, people forget to tell you about lots of things that will happen.

Let me tell you all about my relationship with Dr. Google while pregnant.

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Once, I felt pain on my belly (as one does when pregnant) and I immediately hit up my favorite doctor. According to Dr. Google, my appendix had burst, or my baby was growing in one of my tubes, or I had a kidney stone.

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I called my husband crying telling him my appendix had burst and I had to go to the hospital. My husband was understandably worried and asked me why I thought my appendix had burst. I described my pain and it took everything my husband had to not laugh directly in my pregnant face.

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He came home and once I showed him where it hurt, he simply stated how amazing it was that I was one of the few people to have my appendix on my left side and much higher up than the rest of the world. I have never felt more ridiculous.

Did that stop me from seeing my favorite doc? NOPE.

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Let’s take a second to talk about why it was not the best idea for me to go straight to the internet. First, I honestly just freaked myself out. I was worried from the beginning but googling added unnecessary stress.

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Could I have found a different answer if I had googled differently?

Absolutely. The phrasing of your search makes a huge difference in the kind of results you will get!

Now, let me tell you how my relationship with Dr. Google changed post baby.

When my baby was born, I could have sworn I had never seen a more perfect being in my whole life. Two weeks later, she developed a bunch of bumps all over her body.

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Despite not having seen anyone or having been outdoors (she was born in December and it was super cold so there was no way I was going out into that!), Dr. Google told me she had hand, foot, and mouth disease. I cried and cried uncontrollably for hours.

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My husband was trying to figure out what was going on but couldn’t really understand me between sobs. When I finally told him what was going on, he couldn’t help but chuckle. He quickly informed me that she just had baby acne and it was super normal.

Let me add a quick disclaimer here: I had actually done a TON of research while pregnant and knew that this was a possibility but hormones and postpartum brain got the best of me.

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Now, we all know Dr. Google can give us worst case scenario, so what happens when Dr. Google does the opposite?

It’s equally damaging. About a month ago, my sweet daughter had a couple of bumps on her butt.

It was different than any other rash I had seen so, like so many times before, I quickly hit up google. My mind was put at ease as my favorite medical professional informed me that it was just a butt rash.

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The next day, my daughter has bumps all over her body. This time, she DID have hand, foot, and mouth. I took her to the doctor (real doctor this time) to confirm and we were quarantined for 3 very long weeks! It was NOT fine. 

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Why am I telling you all these embarrassing stories?

Because I know how scary life is when you have a baby and how easy it is to google and find the worst case scenario.

Google can not diagnose your child.

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This unbelievable service is open at all hours of the night and day and available at the tip of your fingers. This makes it so easy to look up any and everything you have concerns about and often scare yourself half to death!

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Here are some of the problems with Dr. Google:

  1. Dr. Google does not know you or your child. It cannot accurately diagnose you or your child without the mountains of background information your real doctor can obtain.
  2. Dr. Google will inadvertently lead to an increased risk of confirmation bias. What does this mean? It means that you are looking for information to confirm your already conceived diagnosis. For example, I was convinced my appendix had burst and Google assured me that I was because that’s what I was looking for. My wording directly affected the response google gave me.
  3. Dr. Google can come between you and your actual doctor. How many times have you googled something and thought to yourself “oh, I’m fine. I don’t need to go to the doctor.” On the other hand, how many times have you googled and gone to the doctor thinking you are dying?
  4. Cyberchondria. What is cyberchondria? A quick google search (it’s not just good for diagnosing imaginary diseases) will tell you it is “a growing concern among many healthcare practitioners as patients can now research any and all symptoms of a rare disease, illness or condition, and manifest a state of medical anxiety.”

If you have any medical concerns, please see a real physical doctor! Or feel free to send your doctor a message through any online service they may offer.

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What are some funny or not-so-funny experiences you have had with Dr.Google? Share them with us in the comments!

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