Social media plays an important role as a source for obtaining or sharing health information. It is frequently used as a resource by pregnant women who seek information and emotional support regarding their physical and role changes. To provide high-quality support for pregnant women, it is important to determine what topics they want information on from social media during their pregnancy, and what effects they expect from each topic. This study investigates what topics pregnant women are interested in according to their stage of pregnancy and need for informational or emotional support from each topic of interest.
An online survey was conducted with 302 pregnant Korean women. The survey questionnaires included information sources and experience of social media. Along with the questionnaires, they were asked to describe three to ten health topics that they were most interested in in the last two weeks.
Social media (72.85%) and search engines (72.85%) were found to be most frequently used for pregnancy-related health information. The topics of interest slightly differed by stage, but mainly postpartum care, pregnancy symptoms, and daily life issues ranked high. Mood related topics appeared frequently among women in their first trimester or post-partum stage of pregnancy. Informational support was mostly needed for daily life issues, and emotional support needs centered mostly around stories about family and mood during pregnancy.
Pregnant women have different needs for informational or emotional support, depending on their stage of pregnancy and their topics of interest. Therefore, social media support should be delivered with varying content and platforms tailored to women’s needs at each trimester.