Digital healthcare

Topic: Digital healthcare could help deliver tailored advice to women experiencing pregnancy difficulties

Personalized coaching through a smartphone platform can help women improve their lifestyle behaviors in the period before and shortly after they become pregnant, a new study has shown. The biggest reduction in behaviors that pose risks to pregnancy were seen in overweight women.

The findings, published in the journal Reproductive Biomedicine Online, show that digital healthcare could be a cost-effective way to deliver tailored advice to women who experience difficulties in pregnancy, which the NHS does not have the resources to provide.

In this study, led by the University of Southampton, 262 women who were planning pregnancies and had either experienced difficulties in conceiving or recurrent miscarriages signed up to the online lifestyle coaching programme Smarter Pregnancy. All participants completed questionnaires through the app at the beginning and at six-week intervals over the four-month trial. The questionnaires covered subjects such as their diet, folic acid intake, smoking and consumption of alcohol.

After each questionnaire, half of the participants (the intervention group) were sent automated advice and recommendations through the coaching platform, based on their responses. The other half (the control group) were referred to standard guidance for periconceptional care on the NHS website.

Topic Discussed: Digital healthcare could help deliver tailored advice to women experiencing pregnancy difficulties

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