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Online resources and apps to aid self-diagnosis and help seeking in the perinatal period: a descriptive survey of women's experiences

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journal contribution
posted on 22.07.2020, 15:57 by Nicola Mackintosh, Shona Agarwal, Kirsty Adcock, Natalie Armstrong, Annette Briley, Molly Patterson, Jane Sandall, Qian Sarah Gong
Objective
Assess the role of online resources and apps for women's help seeking and staff's response to concerns in the perinatal period.

Design
Online survey. Descriptive analysis of women's use and experiences of digital resources for self-diagnosis and help seeking, drawing on numerical and free-text responses.

Setting
Two tertiary referral centres and one district general hospital in two UK geographic locations.

Participants
632 postnatal women, surveyed over a 4 month period

Measurements
Women's access to digital devices; frequency and type of health concerns experienced after 22 weeks’ gestation; variability in use and experiences of websites/apps; perceptions of staff's response to concerns after help-seeking.

Findings
1254 women were approached over a 4-month period; 632 participated (response rate: 50%). Women reported a ‘mix and match’ blended use of digital resources to both learn about, and self-diagnose/self-triage for potential complications in pregnancy as an adjunct to care provided by maternity staff. Over half the participants experienced concerns about themselves or their baby after 22 weeks. The top concern was fetal movements, reported by 62%. Women used 91 different digital resources to help with understanding and decision-making, in addition to seeking support from family, friends and healthcare professionals. Enabling features of staff responses were identified from free-text responses (n=292) by women who sought professional help regarding their health concerns, and influencing factors at clinical, organisational and digital level.

Key conclusions and implications for practice
Online information retrieval and digital self-monitoring is increasingly integral to women's self-care during pregnancy and offers opportunities to support escalation of care and shared decision-making. Further work should assess optimal inclusion of this ‘digital work’ into clinical consultations.

History

Citation

Midwifery, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2020.102803

Author affiliation

Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Midwifery

Pagination

102803 - 102803

Publisher

Elsevier BV

issn

0266-6138

Acceptance date

18/07/2020

Copyright date

2020

Available date

18/07/2021

Language

en

Publisher version

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0266613820301753?via=ihub