We may joke that all pregnant women are the same — from their complaints about heartburn to their cravings for ice cream — but new Google data shows that when it comes to pregnancy around the world, not all expecting mothers are alike.
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New York Times contributing writer Seth Stephens-Davidowitz recently discussed some preliminary data from Google about what pregnant women around the world are searching for — with somewhat surprising results.
It turns out, not all pregnant women are built alike.
OK, I take that back. Most of us preggos are built alike (that belly often comes in a one-size-fits-all), but what we’re worrying about, preparing for and searching Google for in our spare time is definitely not all the same.
In the U.S.
Here in the U.S., it turns out that expecting mothers are downright worried. We’re worried about what we can eat, what we can drink and what we can and cannot put into our pregnant bodies. (Tylenol study, I’m looking at you.)
The top searches that pregnant women in the U.S. did included,
- “Can I eat shrimp?” (I’m going with yes — cooked, of course)
- “Can I drink wine?” (one glass won’t hurt, but don’t go crazy)
- “Can I drink coffee?” (yes — again, limit your intake, ladies, one cup will do)
- “Can I take Tylenol?” (the jury is still out on this one — unfortunately for my headaches)
We are a country of worrywarts, apparently, and it’s interesting to see that the data also revealed that women from other countries who come to the U.S. adopt our worrying ways. Instead of searching for questions similar to women in Mexico, for instance, Spanish-speaking women’s searches mirror English-speaking American searches.
India revealed one of the more, shall we say, surprising results, with the top search being “how to breastfeed my husband.” Apparently, Indian men get a little more into the lactation movement than American men, as that search is pretty much non-existent in the U.S. right now.
Other searches in India, unlike the U.S., don’t center around preventing stretch marks or worrying about what foods are safe — pregnant women in India are more concerned about getting sleep and having sex.
Mexican men seem to deserve some props based on this data — the top searches by expectant fathers are totally focused on supporting their women through the sometimes tumultuous time of pregnancy and birth. The top searches about their pregnant wives include the best words of love and poems for pregnancy. I mean, really, U.S. men — let’s take it up a notch, shall we? Instead, in the U.S. the top search by dads-to-be is “What do I do?” I’m guessing that’s where the whole “helpless father” stereotype comes into play?
Pregnant women in Mexico also seem to be a little more concerned about appearance during their gestations — the fifth most common search is whether or not heels are safe to wear during pregnancy.
What they have in common
While so many of the countries differed in a lot of ways (Australian women are worried if they can eat cheese, British women rarely search about wine and Nigerian women just wonder if they can drink cold water), the searches also revealed that across the continents, some of the ailments of pregnancy stand true no matter where one lives.
Looking at searches in the terms of “symptoms,” Stephens-Davidowitz found that the common pregnancy symptoms of nausea, heartburn and constipation were pretty standard across the board, without one seemingly fail-proof cure. The top five food cravings were also strikingly similar, with many women searching about cravings involving sweet, spicy, salty, chocolate and ice cream (or ice).
So, after all that, perhaps I stand corrected.
All pregnant women really do want ice cream.