In a recent Tommy’s survey of over 400 women, 86% reported that they felt ‘overwhelmed’ by the amount of pregnancy information available. If you’ve had any experience of pregnancy, this probably isn’t too surprising. Even if you’ve only just started thinking about trying for a baby, chances are that you’ve already started doing your research – and found it never ends.
We all know information is power and, when it comes to pregnancy, feeling confident that you have everything you need to do the right thing for you and your baby is important. But there is also such a thing as too much information.
“What I really need is information that is concise and personal to me. I read so many books and it gave me such high expectations. I really relate to the idea of ‘information overload’ as in the early days of my pregnancy, there was just so much out there. The books you can buy are great but there is so much to read and a lot isn’t relevant so can really stress you out.”
Caroline, 7 months pregnant with first baby
Pregnancy books, social media, the internet, friends and family. There are a lot of places to go for information and it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. This isn’t what you want when it comes to pregnancy, so here are our top tips for avoiding information overload.
Recognising the signs of information overload
The purpose of pregnancy information is to give you confidence in knowing what your options are and helping you decide what is the best thing for you and your baby.
You can’t completely rid yourself of anxiety or nervousness, especially if you are experiencing complications. But if you find yourself frantically searching the internet, or feeling increasingly anxious, stressed and unable to make a decision, it’s important to take a step back.
“I saw a LOT of information about movement which did play on my anxiety during pregnancy as it made me keep questioning what I felt.”
Tune out any unwanted pregnancy advice
Our Tommy’s survey showed that 80% of our responders had experienced unwanted pregnancy advice. Again, this may be no surprise. Ask any mother and it’s likely that they’ll have a story about this. Everyone has an opinion about pregnancy, whether it’s how to ease morning sickness, what pain relief you should have in labour or what you should eat or drink.
The thing about pregnancy is, although it is a universal female experience, it’s also a very personal one. Everyone is different and what works for one woman may not work for another.
Of course, there’s no harm in talking to the people you trust. Just take what you need and tune out everything else.
“I was fed up towards the end of people telling me that I wouldn't feel him move near the end of my pregnancy, I knew that's not true”
Let go of the idea of a perfect pregnancy
It’s important to have all the information you need to feel that you are doing the best you can for you and your baby. But you’ll never have what you need to feel completely in control (or prepared) all the time. Pregnancy is a natural process and things don’t always go to plan. Do what you can to feel prepared, but accept that you’ll probably never feel like you have enough information to have the perfect pregnancy.
“I think there is a lot of information out there and it was overwhelming at times. A lot of the medical procedures, appointment and processes were all new to me. Learning about my bodily changes, baby’s development, labour, birth preferences and postnatal care is a lot”
Choose your source of information wisely
When it comes to health information, it’s vital that you find information that you can trust. Usually this means information that is easy to read, up-to-date, balanced and – most importantly – based on reliable scientific evidence.
Trustworthy information will often include a list of the research used to back up any medical claims. Lots of organisations will also provide details about how their information is produced (here’s how our info is produced) so you can see for yourself how the information is put together.
Also, think about how that information makes you feel. If you read something that makes you feel lost and unsure of what to do next, this isn’t helpful. But good information, although it may not give you 100% reassurance, should leave you feeling confident about what to do next.
Our Healthy Pregnancy tool can help
Our Healthy Pregnancy tool allows you to create a personalised plan which tells you all the things you are already doing great and anything you might want to think about doing to help you have a healthy, happy pregnancy. The plan can be started at any point during pregnancy and features only our trusted, evidence-based pregnancy information.
Before you access your full plan, the tool gives you 3 things you can do today to get started with any changes you may choose to make. We hope that, by keeping information clear and individual to you, the tool will help ease any anxiety you may be feeling around pregnancy advice.
We empower women by giving them the high quality information they need during pregnancy to make pregnancy safer and a whole new generation healthier.
Tommy’s PregnancyHub provides expert, midwife-led pregnancy health information for parents and parents-to-be.
We fund research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, and provide pregnancy health information to parents. We believe it is unacceptable that one in four women lose a baby during pregnancy or birth. We want every parent to have the best possible pregnancy outcomes and to take home happy, healthy babies.
Tommy's provides accredited midwife-led pregnancy health information for parents-to-be, and funds research into the causes of pregnancy loss.