Pregnant woman photographs pose ‘threat to women’

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The ultrasound images were posted on Facebook by @HistoryOfBaby

How to get a slice of social media fame? If you’re a pregnant woman or a new dad, a picture of your unborn child is the ideal way to do it.

The unique picture in question is a Somali woman carrying a baby boy, which was originally published by an Irish newspaper’s website.

It’s credited to Somali photographer Riad Ibrahim of Sarrab News.

Image copyright The Irish Times Image caption A sonogram of a pregnant woman’s baby

The image – which shows her pregnant belly, surrounded by a long pattern of red lines – was posted to Facebook by @HistoryOfBaby, which features an image of a big baby boy holding a cup of coffee.

Sarrab News has not publicly confirmed the identity of the woman, but social media users have picked up on the tagline accompanying the photograph: “A pregnant woman will continue to reveal her experiences and thoughts about pregnancy”

Criticism

The image, which has received more than 200,000 likes, sparked debate in the comments – and has attracted criticism for its lack of diversity.

“You have to check the real purpose of the poster,” said one Facebook user.

“When will medical professionals begin to represent persons of all races instead of only using white men?” asked another.

The most important thing for me is for the pregnancy to be healthy. The differences between babies come when they reach birth. Not when they’re conceived. That’s a myth. -Diouf, mother of two

“At what point did you lose respect for the women involved?” said a Facebook user.

He added: “I am posting this pic as a reminder to male photographers and journalists to actually go to the place these images were taken.”

“Thank you for sharing this!” said @HistoryOfBaby. “All these images are difficult and give us strength and comfort to overcome whatever we may face.”

Dr Saad Siadeh, specialist in maternal and fetal medicine and consultant in obstetrics at University College Dublin, told the BBC that the publicity gained from the photograph meant more would now “know a bit more about how to deal with the influence of the media”.

Social media is widely used by women in Ireland to help them share and analyse their experiences of pregnancy and childbirth, he said.

The images in the viral photograph bear some similarity to other photos of pregnant women that have appeared on social media – such as this set of baby pyjamas or “Baby Olympics” using the hashtag #omfg.

To come up with the hashtag, @HistoryOfBaby used a variation of the words for “Oh My God” and added a sentence such as “I’m now running off and finding baby names.”

Universities around the world are undertaking research into the use of social media to document pregnancy, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

In fact, the college recently issued a statement to warn that “images can potentially cause anxiety in their subjects”.

To read more about the full picture, watch the BBC’s Jill Rutter’s report on graphic images of pregnancy in Irish pregnancy booklet

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