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The relationship between digital media use during pregnancy, maternal psychological wellbeing, and maternal-fetal attachment

Journal Article


Abstract


  • The widespread accessibility and use of the internet provides numerous opportunities for women to independently seek out pregnancy-related information and social and emotional support during the antenatal period. Given the heightened psychological vulnerability of the pregnancy period there is a critical need to examine digital media use within the context of the feelings that women have about themselves and towards their fetus. The current study examined the relationship between digital media use during pregnancy, psychological wellbeing and their maternal-fetal attachment using an online survey. Forty-eight pregnant women completed a self-report questionnaire on their reasons for using digital media, and standardised measures of self-criticism, negative affect, social quality of life (QOL), and maternal-fetal attachment. The mean age of participants was 29.4 years (SD = 5.26), with a mean of 24.3 weeks gestation (SD = 9.95). Information seeking, emotional support and social support were highly endorsed reasons for digital media use (85.42%, 66.67%, 62.5% respectively). However, digital media use was positively correlated with negative affect (p = .003) and self-criticism (p < .001). Digital media use was also negatively correlated with QOL (p = .007). There was no evidence of a relationship between digital media use and maternal-fetal attachment (p = .330). Digital environments may be an important social context within which a pregnant woman develops her own maternal identity and knowledge. There are a number of benefits and limitations of this medium for providing information and support for women during pregnancy. Enhancing the opportunities to promote pregnant women's wellbeing in this context is an important avenue for further research and practice.

Publication Date


  • 2020

Citation


  • Smith, M., Mitchell, A. S., Townsend, M. L., & Herbert, J. S. (2020). The relationship between digital media use during pregnancy, maternal psychological wellbeing, and maternal-fetal attachment. PLoS ONE, 15(12 December). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0243898

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85098279792

Volume


  • 15

Issue


  • 12 December

Abstract


  • The widespread accessibility and use of the internet provides numerous opportunities for women to independently seek out pregnancy-related information and social and emotional support during the antenatal period. Given the heightened psychological vulnerability of the pregnancy period there is a critical need to examine digital media use within the context of the feelings that women have about themselves and towards their fetus. The current study examined the relationship between digital media use during pregnancy, psychological wellbeing and their maternal-fetal attachment using an online survey. Forty-eight pregnant women completed a self-report questionnaire on their reasons for using digital media, and standardised measures of self-criticism, negative affect, social quality of life (QOL), and maternal-fetal attachment. The mean age of participants was 29.4 years (SD = 5.26), with a mean of 24.3 weeks gestation (SD = 9.95). Information seeking, emotional support and social support were highly endorsed reasons for digital media use (85.42%, 66.67%, 62.5% respectively). However, digital media use was positively correlated with negative affect (p = .003) and self-criticism (p < .001). Digital media use was also negatively correlated with QOL (p = .007). There was no evidence of a relationship between digital media use and maternal-fetal attachment (p = .330). Digital environments may be an important social context within which a pregnant woman develops her own maternal identity and knowledge. There are a number of benefits and limitations of this medium for providing information and support for women during pregnancy. Enhancing the opportunities to promote pregnant women's wellbeing in this context is an important avenue for further research and practice.

Publication Date


  • 2020

Citation


  • Smith, M., Mitchell, A. S., Townsend, M. L., & Herbert, J. S. (2020). The relationship between digital media use during pregnancy, maternal psychological wellbeing, and maternal-fetal attachment. PLoS ONE, 15(12 December). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0243898

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85098279792

Volume


  • 15

Issue


  • 12 December