Years ago, when women became mothers, they did so mostly in the privacy of their own homes. The rise of social media and the age of oversharing has done away with that. A recent article in The Guardian looked at how pregnant women are far more stressed than they were a generation ago, and they found social media is partly to blame.

Research has found that there are rocketing levels of anxiety and stress among pregnant women. A recent UK study found that clinical levels of depression and anxiety among pregnant women aged 19-24 have risen sharply from 17% in 1990 to 25%. The research was carried out by Rebecca Pearson, a lecturer in psychiatric epidemiology at Bristol University, who says that this increase was marked by particular symptoms: feeling overwhelmed, fear, not being able to sleep, crying. “We think that’s important. We spoke to a generation of women who identify with an overwhelmed, stressed, anxious feeling, not depression.”

Pearson says that information overload from the internet can also enhance a woman’s natural fears and anxieties about her pregnancy. “If you have a slight vulnerability to depression and anxiety, the way you process information is different; if you’re looking up things online, you’re going to pay more attention to the negative and worrying information.”

“On Instagram, I think what everybody wants to portray is a perfect life. This contributes to an image of the world that is not real. Pregnancy is a very real bodily change, that one cannot get away from. The unglamorous aspects of pregnancy are not talked about, and that can leave women feeling lonely,” said parent-infant psychiatrist Claudia DeCampos.

Does social media help or hinder you during pregnancy? Does it make you feel stressed and anxious, or have you found vital support? Share your motherhood stories with us!