Most doctors will tell you to eat right, take your prenatals and generally keep healthy during pregnancy. But there’s one aspect to well-being often overlooked: social support.
For some people, it’s easy to go out and expand their social circle. However, if you find it hard to meet friends also going through a pregnancy journey, this post is for you.
Today, we’re sharing a list of chats you can use to meet other mothers-to-be. If you’re looking for medical advice, we also have a list of free online chats with pregnancy doctors.
Pregnancy Social Support: Why It Matters
Social support can be defined as the people in your life that give you emotional support when you need it. This could be a partner, family, friends, co-workers or midwives. Today, more research is being done on how relationships impact pregnancy. Researchers are learning that women with social support not only feel better but may also have a decreased risk of complications.
In this post, we’re strictly talking about online pregnancy chat resources. Even if you can’t see them, friendships built online can still have a positive impact. Developing relationships on the internet can be especially helpful in these scenarios:
- You want to talk about pregnancy but none of your friends are parents and therefore can’t relate
- You want to rant about pregnancy or other issues but don’t fully trust anyone in your life
- You live in a rural community with less access to friend-making opportunities
- You want pregnancy friends but are too shy to expand your comfort zone and meet them in person
We should also add that although chats can help, it’s also important to cultivate real-life relationships. You can “supplement” pregnancy support with online friends, but nothing beats in-person interaction. Online chats can’t replace the physical support of someone accompanying you to appointments or holding your hand through the tough times. For tips on increasing your “real life” social support circle, read Social Support During Pregnancy: Why It’s Critical & 10 Ways To Get It.
Pregnancy Chats: Forming Online Friendships
Some people may scoff at the idea of meeting online friends. However, research is starting to show how your online connections affect you in the real world. For example, one study on teens shows that online friendships mattered just as much as their in-person ones.
Another study from The Netherlands surveyed people on a social networking site. Researchers compared their online, offline and mixed relationships (meaning friendships that are both online and offline). They found that all 3 types of friendships increased overtime. How close the people were to each other didn’t seem to make a difference.
Research on Pregnancy and Social Support
It intuitively makes sense that those with more support have more enjoyable pregnancies. Research also backs this up. Science has suggested that the advantages of support go beyond just how we feel. Support may even improve pregnancy outcomes and make for easier labors. Let’s take a look at some of these findings:
- Healthier Newborns. A 1993 study found that women with more prenatal support delivered babies who appeared healthier. They also had better labors.
- Higher Birth Weights. The same study concluded that those with more social network resources had babies with higher birth weights.
- Prevents Pregnancy Depression.Experts in a 2007 study found that women with a lower amount of support had more depressive symptoms and reduced quality of life.
- Prevents Postpartum Depression. A 2015 study found that having many supportive people may help prevent postpartum depression. This finding was even truer for those who were already depressed while expecting.
- Fewer Complications in Smokers. A 2006 study found that women who smoked during pregnancy had fewer complications if they had more social support. They concluded that a lack of it is an “important risk factor for maternal well-being” and can negatively impact pregnancy outcomes.
- May Reduce C-Sections. A 2019 Cochrane review of research found that social support programs may be helpful in reducing the likelihood of C-Sections and antenatal hospital admission.
Pregnancy Chat Rooms & Live Chats
These resources include chat rooms, private chats and chat apps.
- org. This website has several chatrooms for different health issues. You can use the female-only pregnancy room to share stories and concerns with other pregnant women. Simply use this link to enter the chat and then click on the “#pregnancy” tab at the top.
- Life App. This app is a pregnancy tracker but also has a feature that you can use to talk to new moms. The “moms” groups allows you to talk amongst other women going through the same thing. With almost 40,000 downloads, you’re sure to make a friend here.
- 7Cups has free chat rooms for family support and advice. Although it isn’t specifically for pregnancy, it states that it covers a range of topics, including emotional support during pregnancy. At first, you’ll enter a general chat. Then, you’ll have the option of connecting with a one-on-one listener. You can also download the app on your smartphone.
- What To Expect. This app is another tracker but it also allows you to connect with other parents by joining groups. Although it’s more of a forum or Facebook-like format, it’s a popular choice for those looking to chat.
- You probably already know about BabyCenter, but they also have an app. Similar to above, chats consist of posts in a forum-like design. Nearing 1 million downloads, there’s many options to meet pregnancy friends.
- Mom. This app allows you to make friends with other moms that live near you—so there’s a potential for them to become real-life friends, too. Operating similar to Facebook, you can check out your “momfeed,” share moments and chat with others.
- This app is one you can use your entire life because you can connect with women about fertility, pregnancy and motherhood. Depending on where you’re at in your journey, you’ll receive a list of women you can swipe right or left on (similar to Tinder). When you match with someone, you can chat!
Online Chat with Pregnancy Doctor & Health Experts
If the kind of support you need is medical, you can use these resources to talk to experts who can give you answers.
- MotherToBaby Chat. This chat is staffed with teratology information specialists who can give you information about which products or medications are safe during pregnancy. This can be helpful when you’re feeling pregnancy symptoms and wonder, “is this medicine safe to take?” It’s a helpful page to bookmark because you can also ask questions about breastfeeding.
- Planned Parenthood Chat. You can ask an expert about anything from reproductive health to pregnancy test questions.
- WeMoms is an app that was designed to help you with doubts during your journey. You can chat live with maternity experts. They claim you can get answers to your questions within 5 minutes at any time during the day.
- This website allows you to ask an obstetrician or gynecologist questions. Although it costs money to continue the chat, your first question and answer are free.
- First Opinion. First Opinion allows you to chat free with a doctor or health specialist. Although prescriptions are an extra charge, you can ask questions 24 hours a day for free. We recommend getting your questions answered here, but getting a second opinion from your doctor for advice regarding prescriptions.
Summary on Pregnancy Chat Options
Social support is important during pregnancy because it can help alleviate stress and depression. Research suggests it may also help prevent postpartum depression and negative outcomes, such as C-sections and low birth weights.
If you don’t have enough social support in your life, an easy way to get more is to look online. The resources provided in this guide can help you meet other expecting women who you can relate to. You can choose to enter pregnancy chat rooms, where you can speak to multiple people at once. Another option is to connect with other women one-on-one. This can be done on discussion boards on through Tinder-like apps that match you to potential friends. If you’re looking for medical support and advice, we’ve also outlined some free options for that too.
Pregnancy chat resources can be helpful for those who are shy, live in rural areas or just need someone similar to talk to throughout the day. Knowing people who are in the same boat can help you rant, get advice and cope during the tough times. With that being said, it’s still important to strengthen in-person bonds and develop new ones if your social circle is lacking.
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