Importance of Internet for Pregnant Women With Type 1 Diabetes
The internet is a wonderful medium for getting information and an effective means of communication. The information collected via internet can help the pregnant woman in prior preparation and conversations with health experts can be an important tool affecting her decision-making processes.
Type 1 diabetes poses several challenges for an expectant mother during pregnancy, childbirth and in matters of breast feeding. Hence, it is of utmost importance for websites to carefully consider their requirements and needs both during pregnancy as well as post pregnancy.
In contrast to normal pregnant women, women with type 1 diabetes require more care and consideration, because pregnancy and associated motherhood is a complex and intricate situation. This means that there should be websites to provide all the necessary information and social support from different types of health professionals.
A web-based survey was conducted by Carina Sparud-Lundin et al with an explorative and descriptive design in which 105 mothers with type 1 diabetes, who had delivered between 2007 and 2009, participated. The study was published in BMC Medical Information and Decision Making 2011.
The study's objective was to investigate the use of internet and expectations regarding web-based information and communication in childbearing women with type 1 diabetes. It aimed at exploring the expectations during as well as post-childbirth.
The collected data was thoroughly analyzed both with statistics and open answers involving direct content analysis.
The results of the study revealed that out of 105 women, 22% never opted for internet for collecting information related to pregnancy and childbirth, 12% surfed internet everyday, 29% used internet more than once a week, and 38% used internet more than once a month.
Half the included women were passive participants on social websites whereas the other half were active participants. About 45% women, especially those from higher educational background, had expectations of better web-based support towards motherhood.
Availability of online technical support devices to manage frequent monitoring of their blood glucose levels during pregnancy was one of the major demands raised by the pregnant women. Another important suggestion was to provide emotional and informal support from women who had faced similar situation in the past. This was would provide the right platform and impart a sense of belonging instead of creating a feeling of estrangement.
The study highlighted the fact that a large proportion of women seek diabetes-related information through internet before, during and after childbirth.
The study concluded in enhancing knowledge about the web-based requirements of the pregnant women with diabetes type 1 in various matters of childbearing and conception. This study also surfaced the important areas for providing effective web-based social support to such ladies. Provisions should be made to ensure that the information given is authentic and reliable.
Source: Internet use, needs, and expectations of web-based information and communication in childbearing women with type 1 diabetes; Carina et al; BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2011.