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Evaluation of online Canadian prenatal health promotion: A public health approach

MSc Thesis Project- Rebecca Chedid
Undergraduate Project- Rowan Terrell

Evidence-based, comprehensive, accessible and inclusive prenatal health promotion

Women Birth. 2018 Aug;31(4):e223-e231. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2017.10.005.

Best practices for online Canadian prenatal health promotion: A public health approach.

Chedid RA, Terrell RM, Phillips KP.


BACKGROUND:Prenatal health promotion provides information regarding pregnancy risks, protective behaviours and clinical and community resources. Typically, women obtain prenatal health information from health care providers, prenatal classes, peers/family, media and increasingly, Internet sites and mobile apps. Barriers to prenatal health promotion and related services include language, rural/remote location, citizenship and disability. Online public health platforms represent the capacity to reach underserved women and can be customised to address the needs of a heterogeneous population of pregnant women.

AIM:Canadian government-hosted websites and online prenatal e-classes were evaluated to determine if accessible, inclusive, comprehensive and evidence-based prenatal health promotion was provided.

METHODS:Using a multijurisdictional approach, federal, provincial/territorial, municipal and public health region-hosted websites, along with affiliated prenatal e-classes, were evaluated based on four criteria: comprehensiveness, evidence-based information, accessibility and inclusivity.

FINDINGS:Online prenatal e-classes, federal, provincial/territorial and public health-hosted websites generally provided comprehensive and evidence-based promotion of essential prenatal topics, in contrast to municipal-hosted websites which provided very limited prenatal health information. Gaps in online prenatal health promotion were identified as lack of French and multilingual content, targeted information and representations of Indigenous peoples, immigrants and women with disabilities.

CONCLUSION:Canadian online prenatal health promotion is broadly comprehensive and evidence-based, but fails to address the needs of non-Anglophones and represent the diverse population of Canadian pregnant women. It is recommended that agencies enhance the organisation of website pregnancy portals/pages and collaborate with other jurisdictions and community groups to ensure linguistically accessible, culturally-competent and inclusive prenatal online resources.

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