Use of digital information and mobile applications by Flemish pregnant women
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Department of Midwifery, Odisee University of Applied Sciences, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium
Mobile Health Unit, Limburg Clinical Research Centre, University of Hasselt, Hasselt, Belgium
Obstetric Department and Future Health, Mobile Health Unit, Limburg Clinical Research Centre, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, Genk, Belgium
Department Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Publication date: 2023-10-24
Corresponding author
Inge Tency   

Department of Midwifery, Odisee University of Applied Sciences, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A12
Although there is an increased use of the Internet and apps as information source for pregnant women, knowledge about its use is relatively limited. This study aimed to map information resources and use of apps among Flemish pregnant women.

Material and Methods:
This cross-sectional study used a survey (n=311), consisting of demographics; use of devices; information sources and use of pregnancy apps. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics, independent Student’s t-tests, chi-square tests and correlations.

Obstetricians were the primary information source (86%), followed by websites/Internet (85.9%), apps (74.9%), friends (62.4%) and midwives (59.2%). Women searched mostly for information about foetal development (88.5%), discomfort/complaints (80.7%) and health during pregnancy (79.7%). A pregnancy app was downloaded by 55.3% the women. Single women asked more information to their mothers (73.3% vs 51.3%; P=0.02) or other relatives (43.3% vs 21.9%; P=0.01) than married women. Low-educated women were more likely to seek pregnancy information from relatives (41.1% vs 23.1%; P<0.001) than high-educated women. They were less likely to consult a gynaecologist (95.9% vs 83.5%; P=.001) and followed more prenatal sessions (80.8% vs 32.5%; P=0.04). Primigravida were more likely to ask advice from relatives (40.4% vs 20.1%; P<0.001) and other pregnant women (53.2% vs 40.2%; P<0.03) than multigravida.

Midwives need to be aware of the increased use of apps as information source for pregnant women. Concerns rise about the quality and safety of those apps. Midwives should refer pregnant women to high-quality digital resources and take the opportunity to discuss digital information during consultation.

We would like to thank Pauline Dreesen, Gitte Gaethofs and Joyce Derycke for their contribution to this study as part of their master thesis.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
There is no funding for this research.
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