Introduction With maternal mortality ratios higher than 100 per 100,000 live births in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), reducing these deaths features high on international public health agenda. In LMICs, mHealth interventions are increasingly being used to strengthen the healthcare system and to empower patients. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of a smartphone application on maternal health knowledge and diet among pregnant Indian women.
Methods A randomized controlled trial in one private hospital in the state Maharashtra, India was conducted. Pregnant women were onboarded when they were entering prenatal care. Allocation to the intervention and control group was based on the random assignments of numbers to the enrolled participants. Pregnant women in the intervention group were invited to download the application in addition to regular antenatal care. The control group only received regular antenatal care. The study duration was 12 weeks. App usage was monitored, maternal health knowledge and dietary intake were collected via telephonic interviews, background characteristics and medical history were obtained via the antenatal care provider.
Results In total, 178 respondents completed all measurements (control = 83; intervention=95). Intervention participants had on average five sessions per week with the application. Preliminary results show that both the intervention and control group had improvements in all knowledge modules, but improvements were largest for the intervention group. Breastfeeding, physical activity and anemia knowledge modules showed the largest difference between control and intervention group. Diversity in dietary intake also substantially increased most among respondents in the intervention group, with an increase of four food groups per week.
Discussion mHealth seems a promising route to improve maternal health knowledge and behaviors among pregnant women in India. Future research steps include the roll-out of a multi-centre study to assess the effect of the smartphone application on health outcomes.
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ .
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.