Influence and use of information sources about childbearing among Spanish pregnant women

Women Birth. 2020 Jul;33(4):367-376. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2019.08.003. Epub 2019 Aug 23.


Background: Pregnant women create their childbirth expectations from their available information. Therefore, they should have access to reliable and quality medical information. However, the literature points a knowledge gap with respect to the sources of information used by them.

Objectives: The primary objective was to analyse the most influential and widely used sources of information about childbearing in Spanish pregnant women. The secondary objectives were to assess the quality and usefulness of the information sources, to identify those regarded as deficient by pregnant women and to discover differences in information use related to parity.

Design and methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was undertaken involving the administration of questionnaires to 40 primiparous and 40 multiparous (taking into account their first and second pregnancy). Social Network Analysis was used, as well as descriptive and inferential statistics for secondary objectives.

Results: Midwives were the most widely used (degree 0.988) and influential source of information (degree 0.600). Although the Internet was very much used (degree 0.738), its influence was very limited (degree 0.050). Healthcare professionals provided the most useful and highest quality information. Statistically significant differences have been found between first and second pregnancy of multiparous women in relation to the utilisation of some sources of information.

Conclusions: Midwives were identified as the key professionals for informing pregnant women. The most influential sources were always people (this underscoring the importance of the face-to-face contact in the search for information). Although new technologies offered support, were unable to replace the information provided by healthcare professionals.

Keywords: Decision making; Nurse midwives; Pregnant women; Social Network Analysis; Sources of information.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Consumer Health Information / standards
  • Consumer Health Information / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Midwifery / statistics & numerical data
  • Parturition / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Social Networking
  • Spain
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult