“You sort of go down a rabbit hole...you’re just going to keep on searching”: A qualitative study of searching online for pregnancy-related information during pregnancy

Prescott, Julie ORCID: 0000-0001-8612-2495 and Mackie, Lynn (2017) “You sort of go down a rabbit hole...you’re just going to keep on searching”: A qualitative study of searching online for pregnancy-related information during pregnancy. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19 (6). e194. ISSN 1439-4456

[img]
Preview
Text
Prescott J Mackie L You sort of go down a rabitt hole JMIR 2017.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (439kB) | Preview
Official URL: http://www.jmir.org/

Abstract

Background: The Web is becoming increasingly popular for gaining information on medical or health issues; with women in particular likely to search online for this type of information and support. Despite the increased use of the Web for health-related information, we need to question whether the Web and the ease of seeking health information that it provides leads to more (patient) empowerment. As well as being a time of joy and expectations, pregnancy can be a worrying time for women, especially first time mums-to-be, with unfamiliar experiences and symptoms and concerns for the baby as well as the self. Objective: Our aim was to explore how and why pregnant women use the Web to gain information and support during pregnancy and what they consider a reliable source. Methods: To meet the objectives of the study, a qualitative approach was required to gather information on the experiences of currently pregnant women who use the Web to gain information and support during their pregnancy. Sixteen pregnant women took part in a semistructured interview, either face-to-face or via telephone. The interviews took place from January to March 2016, all participants were from England, and the health professionals are all employed by the National Health Service (NHS). Qualitative analytical procedures were employed using inductive thematic analysis supported by NVivo software (QSR International). Results: Pregnant women found reassurance from the experiences of others. This reassurance resulted in them feeling less alone, as well as enabling them to normalize any symptoms or experiences they were undergoing. The women understood that caution was needed at times while reading the stories of others, acknowledging the potential for extreme cases or worst case scenarios. This is particularly pertinent to the Web, as this wide range of stories may not be as easily accessible if stories where confined to those in a woman’s offline social circle. The interviews provide insights into how and why pregnant women search online for information and perhaps more so, support while pregnant. Conclusions: Searching for health information and advice online during pregnancy is viewed as quick, easy, and accessible. The affordances of the Web have provided women the opportunity to go online as a first port of call. Knowing they were not alone and reading the experiences or symptoms of other pregnant women enabled women to normalize their experience and was ultimately reassuring for pregnant women.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: pregnancy, information seeking behavior, qualitative research
Divisions: School of Education and Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Tracey Gill
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2017 13:10
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2018 15:12
Identification Number: 10.2196/jmir.6302
URI: http://ubir.bolton.ac.uk/id/eprint/1186

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

>