Women's experiences of self-reporting health online prior to their first midwifery visit: A qualitative study

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BACKGROUND: Information and communication technologies are increasingly used in health care to meet demands of efficiency, safety and patient-centered care. At a large Danish regional hospital, women report their physical, mental health and personal needs prior to their first antenatal visit. Little is known about the process of self-reporting health, and how this information is managed during the client-professional meeting.

AIM: To explore women's experiences of self-reporting their health status and personal needs online prior to the first midwifery visit, and how this information may affect the meeting between the woman and the midwife.

METHOD: Fifteen semi-structured interviews with pregnant women and 62h of observation of the first midwifery visit were carried out. Conventional content analysis was used to analyse data.

FINDINGS: Three main categories were identified; 'Reporting personal health', 'Reducing and generating risk', and 'Bridges and gaps'. Compared to reporting physical health information, more advanced levels of health literacy might be needed to self-assess mental health and personal needs. Self-reporting health can induce feelings of being normal but also increase perceptions of pregnancy-related risk and concerns of being judged by the midwife. Although women want to have their self-reported information addressed, they also have a need for the midwife's expert knowledge and advice, and of not being perceived as a demanding client.

CONCLUSION: Self-reported health prior to the first midwifery visit appears to have both intended and unintended effects. During the midwifery visit, women find themselves navigating between competing needs in relation to use of their self-reported information.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)e105-e114
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

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