Smartphones may offer vital mhealth services to new mothers

mhealth mobile phones
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Women living in inner-city areas could receive important assistance when they are pregnant or have a new baby.

A recent study has shown that smartphones are proving to be a very helpful mhealth tool for pregnant women and new moms who are living in urban areas and who are struggling financially.

These women often don’t receive the level of health care that they require, says the research.

The study, which was conducted by Johns Hopkins, went so far as to call mhealth tools via smartphones “change agents” for interventions in the health care system when it comes to serving women who live in inner city areas. The research included the participation of 250 women who were pregnant and postpartum, who lived in urban areas, and who were within low income bracket. These women were all aged 18 or higher and were attending one of the obstetric or pediatric clinics that were held at the two Johns Hopkins Medicine hospitals in Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The study looked into a range of different factors that affected the participants, including mhealth resources.

mhealth mobile phonesThe participants were asked to fill in a self-administered survey. Multivariate regression analysis was utilized by the researchers in order to evaluate any links between ethnicity, internet, and mobile technology use. Among those within this sample of women, 11 percent had gestational diabetes, 7 percent had adult diabetes, and 11 percent experienced high blood pressure during their pregnancy. Over half – 56 percent – of the women in this study had been obese before they became pregnant.

According to the senior author of the study, Wendy Bennett, M.D., a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine associate professor of medicine, “Pregnancy and the year after delivery–when women must see a doctor–give us a window of opportunity to lock in lifelong preventive health behaviors for them and their families.”

That said, Bennett also added that it is not uncommon for women to not to continue their care or to remain monitored by their health care providers, causing them to miss those opportunities. She expressed her belief in the potential of mhealth tools by saying that “If we could better understand their use of information and communication technology, we could likely design more appropriate, culturally sensitive ways to reach and help them.”

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