Facebook advertisements target pregnant women

When you're pregnant, you may want to share the news with all of your loved ones so they'll start preparing for the new addition to your family. These days, it's common for women to use Facebook and other social media websites to announce their pregnancy and even give updates on fetal development to their extended network of friends.

However, according to a recent article published by Business Insider, Facebook may be using these updates to target advertising to pregnant women, a move that the company is now facing criticism over.

Add your baby
According to Business Insider, Facebook launched a feature last year that allows you to add your unborn baby as a family member on your profile. Now, the website is allegedly using this information to cater specific ads to pregnant women. Business Insider spoke to Siobhan Freegard, the founder of a parenting forum, who called the move "disturbing" and said that Facebook was not open with its users that it was going to use its "life events" section to advertise to people.

"While many women willingly give away personal details about their pregnancies to marketing firms, they do this knowingly and usually in return for free product samples or discount vouchers. What’s disturbing here is Facebook has told mums-to-be [that] they are not collecting their information for marketing use - but then have done exactly that," Freegard told Business Insider.

The news source reported that Facebook allows it's advertisers to choose people to target, so when you add a pregnancy to your "life events" section, you're likely to receive ads for maternity wear or baby strollers.

Social media and pregnancy
Social networking websites have been playing a growing role in modern pregnancy. According to the Chicago Tribune, a 2011 survey of more than 1,000 pregnant women found that 51 percent intended to record the birth as it happens, via social media. Also, 42 percent said that they were planning to post regular Facebook status updates announcing what was occuring while they were in labor.

Furthermore, 56 percent of respondents said that they shared their pregnancy news on social media websites while they were still in the first trimester. These findings highlight the growing role of Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites in modern pregnancy. While it's great that there are so many ways to communicate online now, many doctors recommend that women wait until the 13th week to announce their pregnancy.