Using Patient Education throughout Labor & Delivery

When it comes to new moms and families, one of the persistent challenges hospitals and healthcare providers face is getting good, credible information in front of moms before they turn to Dr. Google. A recent study in the journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth analyzed surveys of new moms to find out how many were getting their information from the Internet. The researchers found that a majority of pregnant women turned to the Internet for information about their pregnancy, no matter their education or income levels. At the same time, however, a majority of these new moms reported they did not discuss the information they found online with their healthcare providers.[1]

The problem here is clear: the Internet makes no effort to discriminate between solid, evidence-based education and deceptive or even dangerous information promoting unsafe products and practices. Too often, Dr. Google is a fraud and quack. But as anyone working in labor and delivery knows, banishing Dr. Google is much easier said than done. The staggering flood of misinformation comes across traditional websites and passes through social media networks like wildfire.

As passionate educators about pregnancy, delivery, and parenthood, we’ve been working hard at The Wellness Network to develop both accurate, evidence-based content and also ways to reach moms at every stage in their pregnancies. Let’s imagine a new mom, Emma, and see how our tools can help clinicians cut through the noise and provide their patients with information they can trust.

During Pregnancy

Like many women, Emma finds out she’s pregnant from a test and immediately books her first OB/GYN appointment. Whether this is her first baby or her fifth, she also starts seeking out information about pregnancy and childbirth. What has changed? Is she ready? What can she expect? At this point, her provider—through her affiliation with a local hospital that subscribes to our HealthClips Prenatal & Maternity Solution—may recommend our videos and print pieces on a healthy pregnancy. With coverage on a variety of topics, her doctor can rest assured that Emma is getting evidence-based, guideline-compliant education on topics like the symptoms she might experience at different points, healthy eating and exercise, vaccination, complications, and even programming on managing work and pregnancy.

Emma, meanwhile, can access these videos or articles on the Web through any device, so she can sit in the comfort of her home and watch without any concern that she’s getting bad information. If she wants, she can easily print out articles and even share videos with her family and partner.

If Emma is attending birthing classes, once again, the same education can be incorporated into the birthing class curriculum by the instructor, so there’s consistency in everything Emma hears from her doctor, at her house, and at the hospital birthing class.

Labor & Delivery

The big day arrives, and Emma’s water breaks as she goes into labor. She grabs her labor and delivery bag and heads to the hospital with her support team or birthing partner. The next 48 hours are hectic, full of waiting, active labor, and delivery. While Emma is in early labor, her nurse flips the TV channel on her patient-room TV to MedSerenity Channel, where she can watch programming on non-pharmacologic pain management, stress reduction, relaxation, and sleep that can help her as she progresses through delivery.

As labor wears on, and her attention focuses on the baby, Emma decides she doesn’t want to watch any more TV that requires her to focus. Her nurse changes the channel to our MedSerenity Channel, which offers soothing and beautiful programming that provides a relaxing background to the intensity of late-stage labor and delivery.

After Delivery

Emma is exhausted after delivery, but suddenly there’s a new baby and so much to do! They encourage her to view the Newborn Channel, where she can watch programming on breastfeeding, important safety information that can help her and her baby stay safe while they’re in the hospital and preparing her for her discharge and return home.

She wants to practice kangaroo care and bonding with her new baby, so she asks the nurses to make sure they hand her baby back to her ASAP. By now, she’s seen enough of our education to know what screening tests her new baby is getting and why, along with newborn vaccination.

Not too long afterward, the lactation consultant comes in to answer questions about starting breastfeeding with a newborn baby. Along with her in-person coaching, the lactation consultant pulls up our videos on the best breastfeeding practices for newborns. Since Emma picked a Baby Friendly hospital, all of the content she gets also supports Baby Friendly, so she sees examples of what a good latch looks like and how to hold a newborn while breastfeeding.

At Discharge

Like most moms with uncomplicated deliveries, Emma is discharged within 24–48 hours of giving birth. Throughout her stay, the nursing staff has been great, providing her with lots of support and education, so she’s a little worried about what will happen when it’s just her and the baby.

Before she goes home, a nursing coordinator comes in with a bedside tablet and requests Emma watch a pre-selected playlist of videos on safety. These videos are mandated by the state, but Emma is excited to watch them. She learns about the risk of co-sleeping, how to recognize and prevent shaken baby syndrome, and all about safe sleep techniques to reduce the risk of SIDS. At the end of every video, she answers the comprehension question to make sure she understands.

Back at Home

Those first few days and weeks after getting home with a new baby are more exhausting, exhilarating, and emotional than Emma could have imagined—sometimes it seems like all of the information she had has slipped from her exhausted brain. Thanks to HealthClips, however, she keeps access to everything her doctors have provided for her at every step. She can re-watch all of the videos and read all of the articles.

As part of her discharge, Emma was also invited to sign up for the hospital’s patient portal, where she finds that her doctors have assigned more education on caring for newborns and safety. As she consumes these new videos and articles, her doctor can see what she’s watched and even which comprehension questions she’s answered. This information can be used during their next patient visit to help her doctor make sure she has all the tools she needs to take care of herself and her baby.


References

[1] Sayakhot, P., Carolan-Olah, M. Internet use by pregnant women seeking pregnancy-related information: a systematic review. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 16, 65 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-016-0856-5