Journal of Community Health

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 799–803

Effect of Motherhood on Women’s Preferences for Sources of Health Information: A Prospective Cohort Study

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10900-011-9513-0

Cite this article as:
Plutzer, K. & Keirse, M.J.N.C. J Community Health (2012) 37: 799. doi:10.1007/s10900-011-9513-0


To examine what sources of health information are preferred by first-time mothers-to-be and how these preferences change by the time their child reaches school age. Women expecting their first child (n = 649), recruited in a randomized trial of early childhood caries prevention at all five public maternity hospitals in Adelaide, were questioned about their preferences for health information. Their preferences were assessed again 4 and 7 years later. Answers at 7 years were compared with those of a population-based cohort of mothers with a first child of the same age. Parents were listed most frequently as a preferred source of health information during pregnancy (67.8%) followed by health care practitioners (48.8%). By the time the child reached school age, 78% listed health care practitioners as their preferred source compared with 15.5% listing parents, 21.7% friends and relatives, and 13% the Internet. Data from the population-based comparison group of mothers with a first child of similar age mimicked those of mothers enrolled in the trial. Mothers put a lot more trust in information received from health care professionals than they did before their child was born. This can create opportunities for enhancing the effectiveness of community health initiatives.


Health information Health professionals Health promotion Internet Mothers 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, School of DentistryThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive MedicineFlinders University, Flinders Medical CentreBedford ParkAustralia

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