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. 2006 Oct;46(5):379-83.
doi: 10.1111/j.1479-828X.2006.00621.x.

What Do Obstetricians Think About Media Influences on Their Patients?


What Do Obstetricians Think About Media Influences on Their Patients?

Bronny Handfield et al. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. .


Background: Patients are playing an increasingly active role in decision-making about their care and are becoming increasingly informed about their health. Traditionally, sources of information about pregnancy and birth were family and friends and, in more recent times, antenatal classes. Evidence suggests that the media, particularly the Internet, is an increasingly influential source of information about illness and health.

Aims: The aim of this study was to survey Australian Fellows of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) about their perceptions of sources of patient information about pregnancy and birth, particularly the media and the Internet.

Methods: A two-page survey with a reply paid envelope was sent to all Australian Fellows of RANZCOG. Most questions only allowed a selection of prespecified categorical options. Some questions allowed open-ended replies that were assessed using thematic analysis.

Results: RANZCOG fellows thought that family and friends were the most important source of information for patients about pregnancy and birth followed by formal antenatal education, although they ranked the influence of the Internet above that of free-to-air television. Responses suggested that women in both the public and the private sectors were accessing the Internet.

Conclusions: Fellows felt that their patients are actively involved in decisions about their care during pregnancy and birth and that the media influences their knowledge and attitudes. The Internet appears to have an increasingly important role in providing women with information. Obstetricians need to be aware of what their patients are accessing on the Internet.

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