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Pregnant women get contradictory health information

A new survey of over 1,100 pregnant women and mothers reveals a number of reasons why women are not getting access to all of the pregnancy information they need. 

Results showed that the main difficulties in obtaining pregnancy health information were:

  • More than half of the women found information sources which contradicted each other (60.3%).
  • One in three women could not obtain information as their doctor or midwife was not available when they had a question (31.3%).
  • One in four said they did not like to ask a question for fear that their question is "stupid" or that they would "look silly" for asking (22.6%).
  • One in five could find information, but they either did not understand it, or it did not answer their questions fully enough.

Research Midwife for Tommy's, Annette Briley, commented, “These new findings make disturbing reading. There has never been more information available, but this survey highlights how confusing this can be and the importance for healthcare professionals to take time to answer queries and allay anxieties for women. It is an important part of our role to reassure women that no question is 'silly' or 'stupid' if it is worrying them in their pregnancy.”

When asked who they confide in most during their pregnancy:

  • One in six women said they confided most in their midwife (15.9%).
  • One in 20 pregnant women claimed they confided most in their doctor (5.3%).

Results from the survey also showed that internet sources are becoming an increasingly popular choice for pregnant women trying to obtain pregnancy health information:

  • 73% went to a website for pregnancy information.
  • 69.7% spoke to a midwife.
  • 27.4% approached their doctor.
  • 22.8% used an online forum/chat room.

Professor of Obstetrics for Tommy's, Andrew Shennan, commented, “Websites are becoming an increasingly valuable source of information for pregnant women, as they provide swift and easy access to basic pregnancy health information.  However, as the survey has found, there is often a problem with conflicting information which can be confusing, therefore it is vital that women speak to a midwife or GP if they are ever in doubt. In instances where women may not be able to speak to their healthcare professional immediately, it is important that they are aware that they can still contact a Tommy's midwife.”

Tommy's, the baby charity, launches this September's Pregnancy Health Month, suppoerted by Johnson's Baby. It is an annual campaign, designed to address women's need for information during their pregnancy and the anxiety that this can bring.