Social media giving birth to new generation of parents-to-be
Most new moms are sharing details of their pregnancies via social networks. (Verity Jane Smith/Brand X photo/Getty Images / August 2, 2012)
There ought to be, based on the information gleaned through a new survey of more than 1,000 pregnant women conducted by American Baby magazine and Good Books, publisher of the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy."
Fifty-one percent of respondents planned to record the birth — as it takes place — through social media, with 42 percent planning to post regular Facebook status updates and 9 percent planning to tweet about the experience.
As it takes place. Did we mention that?
"I was surprised by the social networking data," says Myra Wick, co-medical editor of the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" and a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist at the Mayo Clinic. "But we are starting to see people texting and other things while they're in labor. I guess I'm just kind of old-school in that I think of labor and delivery as being kind of private."
But American Baby executive editor Laura Kalehoff points out that many of the women surveyed haven't known an adult life without social networking.
"The millennial mom went through college with Facebook," Kalehoff says. "They're accustomed to communicating that way, and it feels very natural to share your pregnancy and labor with everyone."
The women surveyed ranged in age from 18 to 49, with the majority being 18 to 29. (Forty percent were 18 to 24 and 25 percent were 25 to 29.)
Wick says she has found that mobile devices rarely get in the way of her patients' ability to complete the task at hand.
"Rarely have we had something going on where we need to say, 'OK, we need you to consent to this,' or 'We need you to listen now,'" Wick says. "That's really pretty rare."
Social networking, of course, was but one topic covered in the survey.
"This was the first survey we've ever done with this broad scope of more than 1,000 moms-to-be," Kalehoff says. "The findings reflect a lot of cultural trends."
A majority of respondents (56 percent) share their pregnancy news while still in the first trimester.
Most (87 percent) want to know the baby's gender ahead of time, 74 percent plan to tell everyone and 13 percent keep the information to themselves.
Almost a quarter (23 percent) are planning to take a "babymoon" with their spouse or partner before their due date. Thirty-six percent have never heard the term "babymoon" — a variation on a honeymoon taken before the baby is born.
Thirty percent say their sex life has never been better.
Half of moms-to-be will announce the birth by calling a few close friends and then letting the news travel on its own. Twenty-seven percent will share the news via Facebook, while 21 percent plan to send a birth announcement in the mail and 13 percent plan to send out an announcement email.
A slight majority plan to go back to work after maternity leave (54 percent), while 46 percent plan to stay home.