[en] Decision making ; Internet ; Need for information ; Postpartum ; Web-based survey
[en] OBJECTIVE: the aims of this survey were: (a) to evaluate the need of information after childbirth and what questions do 'new' mothers ask themselves; (b) to assess why and how women use the Internet to meet their need of information; (c) to describe how the respondents evaluate the reliability of the information found; (d) to understand how the information found on the Internet affects women's decision-making; and (e) to appreciate how health professionals react to the information found by the women. DESIGN: this study used a large web-based survey that was widely broadcasted on various websites and social networks. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: belgian women who had a child under 2 years old and who agreed to participate were included in the study. FINDINGS: 349 questionnaires were valid for analyses. After childbirth, 90.5% of women admitted to using the Internet to seek information about themselves or about their baby, regardless of socioeconomic status or age. There were various reasons for seeking information on the Internet, but the most frequent reason the women expressed was to find information 'on their own' (88.1%). The most searched for topic was breastfeeding. The women believed that the information was quite useful (82.7%) but they assigned an average score of 5.3 out of 10 for the quality of the information they found on the Internet. Approximately 80% of the women felt that the Internet helped them control a decision that they made 'a little', 'often' or 'very often'. Professionals are not always willing to talk about information found on the Internet with mothers. Therefore, many women believed that health professionals should suggest reliable Internet websites for new mothers. CONCLUSIONS: the integration of the Internet and new technologies could be a useful tool during postpartum management.