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How do pregnancy concerns differ throughout the world?

Women get pregnant all the time – all over the world. It’s what keeps the human race going. And while pregnancy symptoms are pretty much the same for everyone (understanding, of course, that each individual has her own experiences), it’s interesting to see how women view their symptoms and concerns based on their local culture and experience.

Earlier in 2014, there was a column in the New York Times that discussed what concerned pregnant women all over the world. Using anonymous, aggregate Google search data from 20 countries, the author found some interesting differences in what kinds of questions they had about their pregnancies.

Safety concerns vary according to geography

In the Unites States, the most common searches regarding the safety of mother and baby focused on things like “Is is safe to eat shrimp while pregnant?” “Drink wine?” “Drink coffee?”

In Nigeria, however, the most searched question was “Is it safe to drink cold water?” While that is an almost non-existent concern in the US, in some parts of the world people believe that drinking cold water during pregnancy can give the baby pneumonia.

“How to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy”

In the US, the most searched “how to” pregnancy question was about preventing stretch marks. Contrast that with Ghana, India, and Nigeria, where preventing stretch marks isn’t even in the top 5 searches. Instead, the popular searches in these countries are more focused on “how to have sex during pregnancy,” and “how to sleep.”

Some pregnancy issues are universal

When it came to things like pregnancy symptoms, “nausea, “constipation,” and “back pain” ranked pretty highly everywhere – especially in the US, Australia, Great Britain, and India.

Similarly, food cravings were pretty much the same in all the countries the author examined: salt, sweets, fruit, spicy food, ice, ice cream, and chocolate came up consistently in the search terms regardless of the country.

This goes to show how pregnancy concerns can be largely affected by culture and geography. But despite the differences in culture and individuals, the pregnancy experience is universal, and mothers-to-be have more in common than they may realize.