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Soon-to-be parents often find themselves completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of available information. Daunted by advice from doctors, friends, family, schools, magazines, and the 10,000+ baby books on the market, parents and parents-to-be are increasingly turning to the Internet for quick information on-demand. Unfortunately, that information is inconsistent, unpredictable, and often alarmist. Even if you’re an expert vetter, anxieties about pregnancy and prenatal care, or a baby’s development and health, often outweigh logic. And in the midst of the hormonal roller coaster of pregnancy, or the infamous emotionally harried, sleep-deprived, new baby stupor, anxiety is king.
But take heart: good, well-researched, digestible data is out there – presented in attractive, narrative form for busy moms and dads. Here are some of Visual.ly’s best and most fun baby-related data visualizations that won’t inspire red-eyed 2 AM panic attacks.
The Path to a Healthy Pregnancy
Congratulations, you’re pregnant! Now what? Taking care of the baby begins immediately with prenatal vitamins, doctor visits, good nutrition, exercise, and planning for the future. The course is long and the responsibilities many. This helpful guide provides an outline for care including information on prenatal testing, safety, nutrition, baby shower registries, and when to start birthing classes. It isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a great place to start learning.
Pregnancy Week by Week
Pregnancy can be one of the most transformative and exciting experiences there is. But it can also be mysterious and frightening, especially if you don’t know much about how the process unfolds. The infographic below follows a baby’s growth through the 40 weeks of pregnancy. It’s fun and informative without clinical language, so the non-scientifically inclined will find it accessible. Like many of the most popular baby websites, the authors of this image felt the urge to compare baby size to various fruits and vegetables. This is a strange trend, but probably helps some parents conceptualize height and weight.
Birth Settings in the U.S.
While hospitals are still the most common places to have babies in the U.S., an increasing number of couples are deciding to have their babies in alternative settings like birth centers or at home. Conventional Western wisdom posits that a hospital is the safest place to give birth, but the science doesn’t always back that up. Birth centers are well equipped to handle emergencies, and allowing the birth process to unfold naturally reduces the need for interventions and surgeries. In a country with a 34% c-section rate and an infant and fetal mortality rate far above that of other developed countries, questioning conventional wisdom may not be such a bad thing. This infographic explores the statistics and introduces some information on alternatives to the traditional American birth model.
The Milestones Poster
This interactive infographic helps parents document a child’s development. It includes spaces for information like the baby’s place of birth, height, weight, hair growth, motor skills, first Halloween costume, first words, family tree, wake and sleep cycles, and more. Unfortunately, this was a Kickstarter project that failed to receive enough funding.
Will Your Baby Be Super Smart?
Everyone wants a smart baby and products to create one abound (more on these below). But what really determines a baby’s intelligence, and how can you tell if you’ve got a gifted child?
America’s Billion Dollar Baby Scam
Speaking of creating genius babies, technology has dramatically changed the way parents raise children, and the way children develop and learn. Some of these new technological products are clearly helpful and effective, some are ineffective, and some may actually be counterproductive. For example, Disney’s “Baby Einstein” DVDs are owned by 1/3 of all parents in the U.S. even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against kids under two watching television.
In most cases, parents seem to be paying more for baby stuff, whether or not the stuff is worth the extra scratch (or really worth anything at all). Step aside helpful, healthy, smartly designed, affordable products: these babies are big business. The infographic below investigates popular baby products and trends, from formula to fancy strollers, debunking hopped-up claims along the way.
Celebrity Baby Names
And now for something completely frivolous. From Apple to Moon-Unit, Peaches Honeyblossom to Moxie CrimeFighter, celebrities are known for their, um, unusual baby name choices. Choosing a name is a huge responsibility, one that many parents fret over for countless hours. Feel good about your name by comparing it to some names nobody should feel good about.
Anni Murray is a writer, editor, multimedia artist, amateur mycologist, and biology student. She is currently working on Prism, a speculative science fiction story cycle. All opinions expressed in this article are her own. Follow her on Twitter.