Understanding the information needs of perinatal women: the role of technology support tools for new mothers

Kemp, Emma Jane (2023) Understanding the information needs of perinatal women: the role of technology support tools for new mothers. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Information seeking during the perinatal period (the period spanning pregnancy to twelve months post giving birth) comprises of several methods women use to meet information needs and gain support through pregnancy and early motherhood. Perinatal women have been shown to rely on healthcare professionals such as midwives and technology-based platforms to provide information relating to maternal and infant health. However, women have described ‘gaps in care’ which occur during early pregnancy (first trimester), prior to labour and the postnatal period. Postnatal mothers have a need for additional support and information after giving birth as new mothers experience less contact with healthcare professionals and access to referral services is limited in the UK. Less is known about the postnatal ‘gap in care’, how digital information sources tailor towards this period and how maternity services are providing postnatal care to new mothers. This thesis set out to examine further i) the changing information needs of perinatal women, ii) the role of healthcare professionals in providing information and support to new mothers, and iii) how technology sources are utilised during the perinatal period.

Three research questions were investigated through a mixed-methods approach across five studies. Qualitative findings identified a ‘timeline of information needs’ during pregnancy and motherhood, particularly focusing on the gaps in care experienced and the need for information often acquired through technology-based platforms. Mobile health apps for pregnancy have been shown to be beneficial for perinatal women seeking information and they increase wellbeing and encouraging self-reflection. Mobile apps specific to motherhood are seldom seen, however. A final quantitative study examined predictors of a journal-based concept app tailored towards new mothers based on an extended Technology Acceptance Model and found ‘perceived usefulness’ to be the most important predictor of intention to use.

Findings from this thesis have provided a deeper understanding of the information work of new mothers and shown how the implementation of technology-based support tools to maternity services for new mothers has the potential to encourage self-reflection increase communication with healthcare professionals and improve the mental health and wellbeing of new mothers.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: pregnancy, postnatal, mHealth, information work, healthcare professional support
Subjects: B800 Medical Technology
B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2023 10:10
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2023 10:15
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/51599

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