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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

SUNY Downstate: Faculty Research Shows Text Messaging is an Effective Tool to Improve Access to Prenatal Health Information

Pregnant urban African American and immigrant Afro-Caribbean women are more likely to receive the prenatal health information they need if they are given access to mhealth apps like Text4baby. That is the finding of a new study from SUNY Downstate School of Public Health.

The study, “Using Text Messaging to Improve Access to Prenatal Health Information in Urban African American and Afro-Caribbean Immigrant Pregnant Women: Mixed Methods Analysis of Text4baby Usage”, was published online on Thursday, February 13, 2020 in the journal JMIR mHealth and uhealth.

This study aimed to understand the real-life experiences of pregnant urban African American and Afro-Caribbean immigrant women with accessing quality prenatal health care and health information; to assess usage of mHealth for seeking prenatal health information; and to measure changes in participants’ knowledge, perceptions, and behavioral intent to use the Text4baby mHealth educational intervention.

“We discovered that inadequate engagement with their provider left these women feeling indifferent about the prenatal care and information they received in the clinical setting,” said Dr. Tenya M. Blackwell, lead author of the study, and director of Community Engagement and Research at the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health. “Based on these findings, we developed a survey of 49 women to gauge whether an app like Text4baby might bridge this indifference.”

The results of this survey showed 63 percent believed an app like Text4baby would provide them with the extra support they wanted during pregnancy. Additionally, on a Likert scale of 1 to 5, their perception of the usefulness, compatibility and relative advantage of using the app ranked at 4.26, 4.41 and 4.15 respectively.

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