The impact of midwife moderated social media based communities on pregnant women and new mothers

McCarthy, R ORCID: 2018, The impact of midwife moderated social media based communities on pregnant women and new mothers , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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This PhD study examines the impact of moderated social media based groups for pregnant women on the provision of information and support. During pregnancy and early motherhood, women need information and support from health professionals, other pregnant women and mothers. Whilst women have access to overwhelming amounts of information they may not have contact with, or support from, other pregnant women and new mothers. Such relationships are fundamental for a supported transition to motherhood.

This thesis explores the concept of Communities of Practice as a framework for social learning, and seeks to explore if and how Communities of Practice can develop from online groups to improve information provision and support for pregnant women and new mothers. A qualitative methodology, with a modified action research component, was used to explore women’s experiences, the concept of Communities of Practice and the potential for their emergence from an online group. Two midwife moderated online groups were created with 31 pregnant women (n=17, n=14). Data were collected using focus groups (k=8) every 3 months and individual interviews (k=28) in the early postnatal period. A thematic analysis framework, informed by Communities of Practice theory, was used to interrogate the different data at different points in time. This generated process findings on which to act; and new knowledge to understand whether and how a Communities of Practice approach could be adopted as a new model of support within midwifery.

The key findings show that women will engage with midwives and other pregnant women through social media and doing so improves their pregnancy experience. Information and support needs can be met through such groups and, furthermore, midwifery relational continuity can be achieved. Communities of Practice can emerge from online groups but they are not essential for information and support needs to be met, or for relational continuity. However, Communities of Practice can provide greater information convergence and the potential for sustained relationships. Mutual engagement is the key Community of Practice dimension which differentiated the groups and signified that one group had evolved into a Community of Practice. Midwife moderated social media based groups may provide a solution for service providers who thus far have struggled to provide relational continuity which is vital for quality, but so often lacking from traditional models of maternity care.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Funders: Health Education England
Depositing User: Dr Rosemary McCarthy
Date Deposited: 22 May 2018 11:57
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 23:50

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