Should Expectant Moms Read Birth Stories?

It is safe to say that the internet is full of birth stories, as this quick Google search result demonstrates: 

472,000,000 results for the term “birth stories” perfectly makes the point: birth stories are ubiquitous online, with millions of women willingly sharing the tale of how their children were brought into the world. 

Most expectant moms will be familiar with these stories; they tend to be found on any website that offers pregnancy and birth advice, after all. However, while these stories are incredibly commonplace, there is a question you should ask yourself before clicking a link: “is this a good idea?” 


What to expect from birth stories 

In the best-case scenario, a birth story will: 


  • Make you feel more confident about your impending delivery
  • Make you aware of things you hadn’t been aware of, so you can now plan for the same eventualities
  • Make you feel, well, warm and fuzzy inside 


The above experience is the one that many expectant moms imagine they will encounter when they click a link to read a birth story – and this is the experience they will usually have, too. Birth stories are incredibly affirming and enjoyable to read, and they can provide insights that an expectant mom would have had no other way of knowing. However… 


Birth stories can be traumatic 

Some women have wonderful, smooth births but, unfortunately, some don’t. When you click on a link to a birth story, in most cases, you will have no idea which type of story you are clicking on. 

This can mean that you click on a story that you subsequently find traumatic or even frightening, especially if it deals with issues severe enough to require the writer to have eventually visited the likes of to obtain legal recourse for their experience. Some birth stories deal with myriad complications and, in some cases, emergencies. These stories can make a lasting impression on an expectant mom, causing a tremendous amount of stress, anxiety, and even panic due to concerns over the idea of experiencing something similar.


How to approach birth stories

When you are pregnant, it’s natural that you are curious about what birth was like for other women – but, as pointed out above, it’s important to be cautious. Here are a few tips to keep in mind: 


  • Look for trauma warnings. Many birth stories will include these at the top of the post or even in the title; if you see them, read no further.
  • Don’t try to convince yourself it’s helpful to read both good stories and concerning ones; in most cases, it isn’t. If you read one concerning and nine good, it’s the worrying one that you will remember. 
  • If you find yourself reading a birth story that seemed fine but becomes harrowing, back away, even if you suspect everything turned out fine (for example, the post has pictures of the mom and her baby in it). There may still be details in the story that you find distressing or worrying. 


Final thoughts

Birth stories are fantastic when you have had your baby, but when you’re still expecting, it’s usually best to avoid them. For advice and support regarding your pregnancy, speak to a medical professional or your friends and family. If you do want to look online, opt for a forum that is designed for expectant moms specifically such as, and avoid any thread titles that suggest a birth story is contained within.

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