Objective: To evaluate the effects of a mobile phone-based intervention on postnatal maternal health behavior and maternal and infant health in a middle-income country.
Methods: A prospective evaluation enrolled consecutive postpartum women at two public hospitals in Quito, Ecuador, between June and August 2012. Inclusion criteria were live birth, no neonatal intensive care admission, and Spanish speaking. Intervention and control groups were assigned via random number generation. The intervention included a telephone-delivered educational session and phone/text access to a nurse for 30days after delivery. Maternal and infant health indicators were recorded at delivery and 3months after delivery via chart review and written/telephone-administered survey.
Results: Overall, 102 women were assigned to the intervention group and 76 to the control group. At 3months, intervention participants were more likely to attend the infant's postnatal check-up (P=0.022) and to breastfeed exclusively (P=0.005), and less likely to feed formula (P=0.016). They used more effective forms of contraception (more implants P=0.023; fewer condoms P=0.036) and reported fewer infant illnesses (P=0.010). There were no differences in maternal acute illness or check-up attendance.
Conclusion: Mobile phone-based postnatal patient education is a promising strategy for improving breastfeeding, contraceptive use, and infant health in low-resource settings; different strategies are needed to influence postpartum maternal health behavior.
Keywords: Breastfeeding; Maternal health; Mobile phone; Newborn health.
Copyright © 2016 International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.