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Infant Care Needs, Online Health Information-Seeking Behaviors, and Interactions with Health Care Providers amongPostpartum Women: An Exploratory Study
Online health information-seeking behaviors
Background With the rapid development of technology, information spreads rapidly through the Internet and social media, as these have become the most popular sources for postpartum women to obtain health information, and the health care provider is no longer the only source for the health information. However, few studies have focused on how postpartum women search, analyze, and apply online health information in their infant care decision making, as well as how their online health information-seeking behaviors affect their health care communications. Purpose This study aims to understand the postpartum women's needs, how they search, analyze, and apply online health information, and how their online information-seeking behaviors affect their communications with the health care providers. Methods We conducted qualitative interviews with 12 postpartum women in a Taipei City hospital birth center from August to September, 2019. We transcribed the audio recordings and coded the concepts by reading every line. Then, we used thematic analysis to present our results. Results The results showed that with regards to the postpartum women's online information-seeking, they concern infant development and growth the most, and learning infant care skills is important for them. The reasons for searching health information online included that they were not feeling well, they hoped they could learn from other women's experience, and the information provided by the healthcare providers was not sufficient. All of them used Google to search for the information. They decided which websites they would search depending on the type of questions and also the urgency of the problems. Regarding healthcare communications, most women were willing to confirm whether the information was accurate or not when they found discrepancies between what they saw from the Internet and what health care providers said. Most of the women perceived that online information-seeking behaviors have made a positive impact on healthcare communications. Postpartum women trust the information from the providers more than any other source. The suggestions or information provided by their family members or friends will be for reference only. Most of them did not trust the information provided by the social media because of the concerns and the motivations behind that. Postpartum women prefer to receive digital information and they all perceive that the convenience of data storage is important. Conclusions and recommendations Postpartum women were eager to learn both infant care knowledge and skills. They were aware of the misleading information on the Internet shared by others or social media and will consider their own situation before taking their suggestions. They highly trust the health care providers and expect them to become more proactive when providing the information. It is suggested that there is a need to create a user friendly and evidence-based information platform to meet the different needs from the preconception, prenatal, to the postpartum periods.
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