Two Little Lines: Stay away from baby message boards for medical advice


With the advent of the Internet and smartphones that can access it, we have instant medical resources to browse.

Doctors will tell patients to stay off the Internet when it comes to medical questions. Don’t self-diagnose, they say.

Whenever I bring up stuff I found on the Internet to ask my obstetrician about, he asks me where I heard the information.

But he knows the answer: he calls it Dr. Internet.

There is an allure about it, though, especially the popular BabyCenter message boards.

BabyCenter is home to a message board that thousands of pregnant women, mothers and caregivers can join and post on.

These individuals can share experiences, pictures and advice.

I am guilty of Google searching questions that should be directed toward my practitioner, but the instantaneous answers that BabyCenter provides are more appealing than messaging my doctor and having to wait two to three days for a response.

The problem is that the women on BabyCenter aren’t trained medical doctors.

Even though 50 people might have the same symptoms as me, it doesn’t mean it’s the same thing.

Knowing this full well, I still prefer to browse the site.

Another problem with asking questions on BabyCenter is that some women will tell worst-case scenario stories.

It could be their experience or the experience of another.

When you go on and ask if this minor pain in your side is normal, you may end up with a horrifying story of how a person’s stomach blew up and if they had just done this, that and the other thing, it would have been okay.

After reading something like that, you rush to the doctor’s office to ask about this rare disease that it seems everyone has, and the doctor tells you that you are fine, its normal stretching pain, go home.

Then you realized you should have called him in the first place.

You can also find your “Birth Month Club.”

Mine is the July 2014 babies, because my baby is due in July.

These are fun to read because everyone is around the same number of weeks as you, and are easy to connect to.

This is one of the worst drawbacks to BabyCenter.

On these forums, mothers whose babies were born too premature to survive, or miscarried, are welcome to post pictures of their babies.

It’s scary when there are moms who are at the same gestational time as you who are losing their babies. The hard part about it is that it’s easy to accidentally stumble across these pictures when they are the last things you want to see.

BabyCenter is a cool online forum that can be helpful and fun way to connect to people, but be careful when it comes to asking medical advice that should be directed toward your doctor.

And when you start to get into that depressing, scary part of BabyCenter, it’s probably 2 a.m. anyway and you should shut it down immediately.