Pregnancy eHealth and mHealth: user proportions and characteristics of pregnant women using Web-based information sources—a cross-sectional study
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To analyze the current proportions and characteristics of women using Internet (eHealth) and smartphone (mHealth) based sources of information during pregnancy and to investigate the influence, this information-seeking behavior has on decision-making.
A cross-sectional study was conducted at two major German university hospitals. Questionnaires covering socio-demographic data, medical data and details of Internet, and smartphone application use were administered to 220 pregnant women. Data analysis utilized descriptive statistics and multiple regression analysis.
50.7 % of pregnant women were online information seekers. 22.4 % used an mHealth pregnancy application. Women using eHealth information showed no specific profile, while women using mHealth applications proved to be younger, were more likely to be in their first pregnancy, felt less healthy, and were more likely to be influenced by the retrieved information. Stepwise backward regression analysis explained 25.8 % of the variance of mHealth use. 80.5 % of cases were classified correctly by the identified predictors. All types of Web-based information correlated significantly with decision-making during pregnancy.
Pregnant women frequently use the Internet and smartphone applications as a source of information. While Web usage was a common phenomenon, this study revealed specific characteristics of mHealth users during pregnancy. Improved, medically accurate smartphone applications might provide a way to specifically target the mHealth user group. As user influenceability was of major relevance to all types of information, all medical content should be carefully reviewed by a multidisciplinary board of medical specialists.
KeywordsPregnancy eHealth mHealth Smartphone application Internet Obstetrics
Dr. Stephanie Wallwiener was financially supported by the German Society of Psychosomatic Gynaecology and Obstetrics.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.
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