Patterns of Internet Use by Pregnant Women, and Reliability of Pregnancy-Related Searches
Objective To assess patterns of e-health use in pregnancy in an underserved racially diverse inner-city population, and to assess the accuracy of pregnancy-related information obtained from the Internet. Methods A cross sectional study of 503 pregnant/postpartum women belonging to an underserved racially diverse inner-city population who completed a survey regarding e-health use. To assess accuracy, four independent expert-reviewers rated the first 10 webpages on Google searches for each of five questions based upon those in ACOG bulletins. Results 70.8 % of pregnant/postpartum women belonging to an underserved racially diverse inner-city population were e-health users. E-health users were younger (mean age 29.4 vs. 31.2, P = 0.009), more likely to be nulliparous (50.3 vs. 21.3 %, P < 0.001), have English as their primary language (62.3 vs. 49.1 %, P = 0.014) and have a college/graduate education (78 vs. 26.6 %, P < 0.001). While 60 % of these women said e-health influenced decision making, only 71.3 % of them discussed their searches with their provider. Expert reviewers determined that the online information was fairly accurate (mean score: +1.48 to +4.33 on a scale of −5 to +5) but not uniformly accurate, and there was at least one webpage with inaccurate information for every question. Conclusions for practice Pregnant women frequently use e-health resources but do not routinely share their findings with their providers. Most, but not all, information obtained is accurate. Therefore it is important for providers to discuss their patients’ use, and help to guide them to reliable information.
KeywordsE-health Internet Pregnancy
We thank Dr Tinu Hirachan and Dr Lia Mamistvalova for helping us administer the questionnaire to our participants.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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