Midwifery care and social media
Rachelle Chee, Tanya Capper and Olav Muurlink discuss navigating the challenges of providing women-centred care in the social media age
The internet, and in particular social media, now play a significant role in the day-to-day life of billions of people across the world. The ease of access to online material, an abundance of which relates to pregnancy, birth and early parenting, means that midwives, mothers and their families are no exception to the significant role of the internet, and use this vast resource to gain knowledge and understanding. While pregnant and new parents do gain a sense of empowerment by accessing the diverse range of information that the internet provides, there is also a very real risk that many of these sources lack scientific rigour or are biased. This becomes particularly problematic for midwives when obtaining true informed consent to maternity care and when supporting women and their families to make decisions that may impact the health and wellbeing of mother and baby.
The internet and social media platforms have become incorporated into many facets of contemporary midwifery practice, and this has arguably led to a range of both positive and negative impacts. Accessing the internet has been made easy because of the compact and mobile nature of smartphones and tablets, enabling midwives and students, at the touch of a button, to locate, share and evaluate research findings, access online learning materials and network with their peers (Downer et al, 2021).
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