Online education ‘critical’ for pregnancy says researcher

Pregnancy can be both an exciting and scary time, but what can make the process significantly easier is online education before the birth.

But the online space is complex and can contain misinformation, says University of South Australia researcher and midwife Kassie Whitworth.

Nevertheless she feels the benefits of good communication outweigh the costs.

“It’s critical. The more informed that the woman and her family and her support network are before the baby arrives, the more likely they are to feel confident, and assured of managing things straight after the birth,” says Whitworth.

“It also helps overcome the natural journey that takes place in those first couple of weeks, as well as some strategies to overcome some of the really common challenges.”

For her master’s dissertation, Whitworth undertook research into understanding women’s experiences with online antennal education.

“I think it’s an overwhelming space to enter into,” she says.

“It’s a life changing event that occurs. And some women will feel supported, and then a lot won’t and I think that it’s important to have adequate information and support structures in place to help during those times.”

Although misinformation can be an issue, Whitworth says this also occurs in person, particularly if the family is receiving information from multiple sources.

“We know that there are benefits to continuity of care for women. One of the benefits is there’s a trusted primary caregiver that tends to deliver consistent information. Whereas in more fragmented models, if there’s lots of different people that families are interacting with, they may get different information,” she says.

0“For a lot of people, they find [all that online information] incredibly overwhelming and then as a result of that feel stressed out and anxious and have self-doubt. It is generally quite a vulnerable time.”

Whitworth was one of four speakers at the Cosmos Science City event. You can watch the full talk at the link below.

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