Stillbirth and risk factors: an evaluation of Irish and UK websites

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Escañuela Sánchez, Tamara
Meaney, Sarah
O'Donoghue, Keelin
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Background: Research indicates that the internet is used to source health-related information, including pregnancy-related information. The aim of this study was to examine websites targeted at the pregnant population and to assess the content therein relating to stillbirth and modifiable risk factors. Methods: The study was limited to websites hosted in Ireland and the UK, and results organized by provider and topic. A codebook was designed to record the information found on the websites. Data were collected on different website characteristics, and a search was undertaken for basic information related to stillbirth (prevalence, causes, procedures, consequences, etc.), and information relating to modifiable risk factors (smoking, alcohol/drug use, medicines use, sleep position, attendance at antenatal care, and weight management). Results: 92 websites were included in the study, of which 39.1% (n = 36) contained basic information about stillbirth and 29.3% (n = 27) contained information related to modifiable risk factors. Only one website (1.1%) contained all the information that was sought. Websites hosted by charities were more likely to contain basic information related to stillbirth, (39.3%, n = 11 of the 28 websites hosted by charities) whereas the commercial sites were more likely to contain information about modifiable risk factors (53.3%, n = 8 of the 15 commercial sites). Conclusion: The results of this study illustrate that websites directed at the pregnant population are a poor source for information related to stillbirth. Some stillbirth risk factors are modifiable; therefore, it is crucial that women and stakeholders can avail of reliable sources of information to make informed decisions.
Stillbirth , Behavioural risk factors , Websites , Online health information , Online health information seeking , Stillbirth information seeking
Escañuela Sánchez, T., Meaney, S. and O’Donoghue, K. (2020) 'Stillbirth and risk factors: an evaluation of Irish and UK websites', Journal of Communication in Healthcare, (10 pp). doi: 10.1080/17538068.2020.1807887
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Communication in Healthcare on 06 Sept 2020, available online: