When you’re trying to get pregnant, buying a box of plastic sticks to pee on is par for the course, right? But thousands — yes, thousands — of women are actually “addicted” to pregnancy tests, according to an eyebrow-raising new survey from UK parenting site ChannelMum.com.
The site says that according to its research — which involved 1,435 women — 62 percent of women will get a positive result from a pregnancy test and then continue taking the tests to ensure that they are indeed still expecting.
The reason: They’re concerned about the initial result being wrong or want to ensure they’re still pregnant, fearing complications or miscarriage. Vice’s Broadly recently looked into the phenomenon and reported that there are women referred to as pee-on-a-stick (or POAS) addicts, who “often spend a fortune on HPTs [home pregnancy tests], routinely taking ten or 20 HPTs over the course of a few days, and share photos of their test sticks on sites like Fertilityfriend.com and Babycenter.com for detailed discussion.” The article continues: “Many broadcast their ‘live’ pregnancy testing on YouTube, and visit testing sites and Facebook groups like Peestickparadise.com and All About Pregnancy Tests, which are hives of activity.”
Many “POAS addicts” also point to these social networks as saving graces when they’re struggling with conception or have experienced pregnancy loss.
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The ChannelMum.com survey found that 7 percent of POAS addicts will take 10 tests, while one in 20 will take 16 or more. Of the survey findings, the site’s founder Siobhan Freegard concluded, “Being hooked on pregnancy tests may seem strange, but the majority of mums do it. Seeing the positive sign come up gives mums-to-be a buzz and also helps reassure those who may be nervous about their pregnancy. However, it’s important not to get addicted to continual tests, as they are expensive and unnecessary.”
She also emphasized that for any women who are testing up to five times a day to check if they’re still pregnant — which, sadly, some women report doing — it’s important to recognize your anxiety and “get professional support.”
After all, “pregnancy test addiction” sounds as though it may be a symptom of a much larger issue: the frustrating stigma of miscarriage and infertility in our culture, and the related heartbreak women deserve to give voice to. Here’s hoping that calling attention to this phenomenon will inspire POAS addicts to feel more comfortable finding one-on-one support off of the Internet as well.
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