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Google is Not a Doctor

Published on November 26, 2014 by Wendy Burch
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Google is not a doctor. Don't believe me? Google it, and find out for yourself. I bring this up because if you are trying to get pregnant, it's inevitable that you will spend more hours on Google than you ever will in your doctor's waiting room. You won't be able to help yourself. Websites. Blogs. Chat rooms. Images. They all pop up in an instant. But trust me when I tell you, it's a tangled web.

Don't believe me? Just start a conversation with your fertility doctor with the words, "So, I was on the internet..." and watch the immediate eye roll with the sympathetic nod of the head, as you go on to explain the diagnosis you and Dr. Google just came up with.

Fertility is an advanced science, yet any idiot can post something about it on the internet. Fact check? Fat chance. Unless you are on your doctor's website (like this one) or a site that ends with .org, .gov or .state—the odds are slight that you are getting information that is right. And yet, the lure of the search engine is a powerful one. It's hard to turn off something that is there for you 24-7 and delivers hundreds of thousands of results in a split second.

I was, perhaps, one of the worst internet addicts Dr. Hal Danzer had ever encountered. As a journalist, Google is one of the tools of my trade. With a few key words I can unlock most mysteries in a minute or less. But getting pregnant takes time, and even though you can click with a search engine right away—much of what you find, will be dead wrong. In fact, too much Googling can actually be bad for your health (I have nothing to back up that statement—but give me a minute—and I am sure I'll find something).

Despite this warning...you are going to go ahead and Google anyway. So, let me give you a guide on how to survive, along with the lingo you will need to know if you are TTC (internet jargon for trying to conceive).

Search any given subject pertaining to fertility, and the first page will usually lead you to a legit website. But since you are hungry for a baby and thirsty for more knowledge, you'll find yourself inevitably clicking through to a BB or BBS (internet bulletin boards)—and here's where you will begin to find a lot of BS.

These BB's provide women a forum to post questions, share concerns, compare symptoms—and generally speaking, confuse the hell out of each other. To the first-timer, you will feel like you need a decoder ring to decipher what any of them are talking about. I was quick to figure out that when someone typed PG—they were referring to the word 'pregnant'. But it took me months to discover that AF meant 'Aunt Flo'... DPO stands for 'days past ovulation'... and HPT is shorthand for 'home pregnancy test'.

And just when I unlocked that BFN means a 'big fat negative' on an HPT, I was hit with chat room lingo that had multiple meanings. Take BF, for instance. It can mean 'boyfriend' or 'breastfeed' (but I guess those terms can be considered interchangeable, since they can both be about boobs). For months I thought MIL was shorthand for MILF. Imagine my surprise when I figured out that it was the acronym for 'mother-in-law'. Even more perplexing is BM—which stands for both 'breast milk' and 'bowel movement'.

And then there is the talk about sex, although no one really spells that out. Instead you will see a sentence that says something like... "I know I O'd, because my BBT was high, so I told my DH to come home ASAP for a BD." Translation: "I ovulated because my basal body temperature was high, so I told my dear husband home quickly for a baby dance" (which means sex).

And if you think that is TMI...you ain't heard anything yet. The anonymous nature of the internet bulletin boards gives women the freedom to share every intimate detail—some will even post photographic proof. I've seen images of everything from implantation bleeding to CF (cervical fluid) to M/C (miscarriage). Yes, Google can get gross.

Now, I will admit, despite the bad info, incorrect diagnosis and all of the neurosis...the chat rooms can serve a purpose. They are proof you are not alone in your quest to get a BFP (big fat positive) on your next home pregnancy test.

But take it from someone who has BTDT (been there, done that). If you are going through IVF (in vitro fertilization) or IUI (intrauterine insemination)... take the time to schedule face-to-face conversations with your real-life doctor. At SCRC (Southern California Reproductive Center) you can even ask questions directly to a RE (reproductive endocrinologist). Talk to them. You will feel better—not to mention, be better informed.

Now, you can go ahead and tell me to MYOB (mind your own business)...but that is just NMS (not my style). Some of you will go on to google and chat away to your hearts content. I can't stop you... but I sincerely HTH (hope this helps).

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