Pregnant women ask Dr Google for advice
First time moms are turning to \'Dr Google\' and social media to seek answers to their medical questions more often than they would like, scientists say.
Washington: First time moms are turning to 'Dr Google' and social media to seek answers to their medical questions more often than they would like, scientists say.
"We found that first-time moms were upset that their first prenatal visit did not occur until eight weeks into pregnancy," said Jennifer L Kraschnewski, assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences, Penn State College of Medicine.
"These women reported using Google and other search engines because they had a lot of questions at the beginning of pregnancy, before their first doctor's appointment," said Kraschnewski.
Following the women's first visit to the obstetrician, many of them still turned to the Internet - in the form of both search engines and social media - to find answers to their questions, because they felt the literature the doctor's office gave them was insufficient.
Kraschnewski and colleagues set out to gather information to develop a smartphone app for women to use during pregnancy, and incidentally discovered that many women were unsatisfied with the structure of their prenatal care.
The researchers conducted four focus groups, totalling 17 pregnant women - all of whom were over 18 and owned a smartphone.
Most of the mothers-to-be agreed that the structure of prenatal visits are not responsive to their individual needs, so they turned to technology to fill their knowledge gaps, Kraschnewski and colleagues wrote in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
However, the women were unsatisfied by the questionable accuracy of the information they found online.
Many of the participants found the pamphlets and flyers that their doctors gave them, as well as the once popular book "What to Expect When You're Expecting," outdated and preferred receiving information in different formats.
They would rather watch videos and use social media and pregnancy-tracking apps and websites.
"This research is important because we don't have a very good handle on what tools pregnant women are using and how they engage with technology," said Kraschnewski.
"We have found that there is a real disconnect between what we're providing in the office and what the patient wants," said Kraschnewski.
She pointed out that regulation of medical information on the Internet is rare, which could be problematic and lead to alarming patients unnecessarily.
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18 Jun 2019 10:41 AM GMT