A web-based survey of midwives’ perceptions of women using the Internet in pregnancy: a global phenomenon

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Objectivesto ascertain the views of midwives on Internet use in midwifery practice, to elicit the extent and nature of pregnant women's use of the Internet from a midwifery perspective, and to explore midwives’ perceptions of pregnant women using the Internet as an information source.Setting12 online midwifery discussion fora.Designa cross-sectional exploratory descriptive web-based survey.Methodologymidwives from midwifery e-discussion groups who had direct contact with pregnant women were invited to share their experiences of working with women who presented them with information gleaned from the Internet.Participantsan international sample of 303 midwives accessed and completed a web-based questionnaire.Resultsthe vast majority of midwives who responded (89%, n=271) perceived an increase in Internet use among pregnant women. Midwives reported that women used the Internet to obtain information on a broad range of pregnancy-related topics. Most (86%, n=260) had experience of a pregnant woman discussing information from the Internet with them in the past year. A concerned minority (19%, n=49) regarded the information retrieved by the women to be either ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ accurate. Two-thirds (67%, n=174) considered that the information had an effect on how the woman thought her pregnancy should be managed.Key conclusionsthis study provides evidence of pregnant women accessing the Internet to obtain information related to their pregnancy. Midwives recognise that pregnant women are increasingly using the Internet as an accessible resource for information to inform decision-making in pregnancy. This presents a number of challenges for midwives.Implications for practicemidwives need to keep up-to-date with the latest knowledge. Midwives’ skills in Internet use need to be developed so that they can be effective and competent partners in supporting post-modern women.Keywords: Web-based questionnaire; Midwives perception; Internet; Pregnant women
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-281
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Apr 2011


  • Web-based questionnaire
  • Midwives perception
  • Internet
  • Pregnant women


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