Presence of Complex and Potentially Conflicting Information in Prenatal Mobile Apps

Jasmyne J. Womack, La Kesha N. Anderson, Christy J.W. Ledford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pregnant women are increasingly using mobile apps as a source of supplemental information. These pregnancy-related mobile apps present women with contradictory risk recommendations without the medical research to support their claims. The content analysis describes a sample of the pregnancy-tracking mobile application environment open to pregnant mothers and uses the social amplification of risk framework. Within this framework, written recommendations and the presence or absence of corresponding citations on controversial topics in pregnancy were recorded and risk was coded as received contradictory information. Of the 48 pregnancy-tracking mobile apps downloaded, 11 (22.9%) were associated with either a seller or a developer with a medical background. Only 24 of 48 (50.0%) of the apps cited a source, such as a health professional agency or peer-reviewed research journal for health recommendations. In our results, we show a sampling of contradictory risk recommendations made by mobile apps that cite or do not cite their source for that recommendation on 8 controversial topics in pregnancy. Findings suggest providers treating pregnant women must be aware of the complex information environment and help them navigate the risk information they encounter on some of the most popular pregnancy-tracking mobile apps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-245
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Promotion Practice
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • maternal and infant health
  • maternity care
  • mHealth
  • mobile applications
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)

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