Personal Health Information Needs and Practices for Maternal-Fetal Care (Tennessee)

Project Final Report (PDF, 362.12 KB) Disclaimer

Project Details - Ended

Summary:

Pregnancy is a time of increased questions for mothers and the caregivers of the mother or newborn baby. Even women and caregivers experiencing normal pregnancies may have numerous health-related questions and needs during this time. Seeking information to answer these questions, and meeting health-related needs, is particularly important as appropriate prenatal education improves maternal and fetal outcomes.

This study examined the health-related needs, information seeking-behaviors, and information-management practices of pregnant women and their caregivers. Participants were recruited from either a group prenatal care practice, an advanced maternal-fetal medicine center, or through genetic counselors. Their characteristics, information needs, and management practices were assessed using a combination of surveys, semi-structured interviews, home visits, journaling, and technology usage.

The specific aims of the research were as follows:

  • Describe the characteristics, capacities, preferences, and beliefs of pregnant patients and their caregivers. 
  • Characterize patient and caregiver health information needs and information-management practices. 
  • Examine the use of a patient portal, and other health information technologies, to meet health information needs. 

Participants were enrolled in either a cross-sectional or longitudinal study. The investigators found that pregnant women and their caregivers have a diverse set of unmet informational, medical, logistical, and social health-related needs. For pregnant women, these unmet needs are focused on being healthy, being a “good mother,” childbirth, infant care, and struggles with mobility. Caregivers’ unmet needs are on caring for the mother, the natural course of pregnancy, and life after pregnancy. Technology formed a substantial portion of the support networks for pregnant women and their caregivers, yet gaps were reported between use and willingness to use various technologies. Pregnant women were more likely to cite medical information sites as components of their support system, while caregivers were more likely to include internet search engines, informational websites, social media, and apps in their support system. These gaps represent an opportunity for health information technology (IT) development, including the development of pregnancy-related health IT aimed at caregivers. Future research is needed to understand how technologies function as part of the support system and the impact of health IT on pregnancy outcomes.

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Personal Health Information Needs and Practices for Maternal Fetal Care - Final Report

Citation:
Jackson G. Personal Health Information Needs and Practices for Maternal Fetal Care - Final Report. (Prepared by Vanderbilt University under Grant No. R01 HS021496). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2019. (PDF, 362.12 KB)

The findings and conclusions in this document are those of the author(s), who are responsible for its content, and do not necessarily represent the views of AHRQ. No statement in this report should be construed as an official position of AHRQ or of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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