Effects of a smartphone application on maternal health knowledge and dietary diversity among pregnant women in india: A randomized single center pilot study

Charlotte Dieteren*, Subhanwita Sarkar, Sumiti Saharan*, Igna Bonfrer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background:

India contributes to one-fifth of infant and maternal deaths globally. Healthy lifestyles during pregnancy combined with good quality health care can help to avoid many maternal and neonatal deaths. Access to appropriate information is important for developing or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The increased coverage of smartphones across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) has given rise to smartphone apps supporting healthy pregnancies. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of the smartphone application Together For Her on maternal health knowledge and dietary diversity among pregnant Indian women. 

Methods:

We ran a randomised single-centre pilot study in a private hospital in Maharashtra, India. We randomly selected pregnant women at $20 weeks of gestation who were invited to download the application, in addition to regular antenatal care. The control group only received regular antenatal care. Knowledge about a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy, self-reported dietary diversity and individual characteristics were collected via telephone interviews at baseline (T0), midline (T0 + 4 weeks) and endline (T0 + 12 weeks). 

Results:

Complete data were collected for 179 respondents (intervention:94; control:85). Respondents in the intervention group showed larger increases in their knowledge over the 12-week study period, with an overall knowledge increase of 13.4 percentage points (P<0.001). The largest effects were found in the modules anaemia, breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact. Self-reported diversity in nutritional intake also improved significantly more in the intervention group than in the control group. 

Conclusions:

Smartphone applications can effectively supplement antenatal care by increasing women’s knowledge about a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy, which is likely to reduce the risk of adverse maternal health outcomes. Future research includes the roll-out of a larger multi-centre RCT to assess the effect of the smartphone application on health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022057
JournalJournal of Global Health Reports
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, International Society of Global Health. All rights reserved.

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