Whether it’s your first pregnancy, or your third, connecting with other moms in the same boat can help lighten the load of pregnancy woes. Many women choose to connect with other moms through pregnancy forums, message boards, blogs or pregnancy discussion groups. In many instances, the modern pregnancy forum has taken the place of the old fashioned pregnancy support group where women would connect over the phone or in person. Although moms find ways to connect in everyday life, pregnancy forums provide a unique opportunity to connect moms all across the world who may share very unique and individual common interests and experiences.
In your search for the perfect pregnancy forum for you, decide what it is that you would like to share with other moms. What aspect of your pregnancy or parenting do you need advice, or support with? For some moms, just a general pregnancy forum is all they need — a place where they can swap belly photos, exchange strange pregnancy cravings, or ask questions about their baby’s development. For moms over 40, there are pregnancy forums that deal with waiting to get pregnant, infertility issues and high risk pregnancy. Women who are pregnant with multiples may find that it is difficult to find other women sharing this unique experience in their hometown, and turn to a pregnancy forum. There are pregnancy forums on a diverse range of issues such as infertility, new moms, due date clubs, parenting issues, cloth diapering, pregnancy loss and military moms.
Once you find the perfect pregnancy forum for you, brush up on your “netiquette,” or your forum etiquette. Most moderators will have a section of their particular expectations or rules governing their pregnancy forum. Since most pregnancy forums are places to share advice, opinions and to support other members of the forum, most members and moderators will quickly ban “flamers” or “slammers,” people who purposefully attack, criticize and badmouth other contributors just to start conflict. Harassment, foul language and free advertising is not allowed and, depending on how closely the forum is moderated, usually results in a warning or immediate ban. Remember also, that a pregnancy forum is an opportunity to share advice and anecdotal information, so you should not take the advice as seriously as you would your doctor’s advice. If you have a serious medical concern, always seek the advice of a doctor first.
Pregnancy forums may just be one avenue that you choose to express yourself in — if you’d prefer more freedom and less censorship in your online pregnancy discourse, then you may want to start your own pregnancy blog. These online diaries are a way to share your personal pregnancy experiences without a lot of chatter or response coming from countless members of a forum. Some blogs allow readers to post their comments or opinions, so you can choose the type of pregnancy blog that allows as little or as much feedback as you’d like.
The drawback of a pregnancy forum is that nothing beats the human interaction and companionship that face to face connections allow. You may want to consider joining or forming a pregnancy support group in addition to participating in a pregnancy forum as well. On the other hand, the anonymity of a pregnancy forum can allow you the freedom of expression that you may otherwise be too embarrassed to share in person.