"We found that first-time moms were upset that their first prenatal visit did not occur until eight weeks into pregnancy," said Jennifer L Kraschnewski, an assistant professor of medicine at Penn State University's College of Medicine.

"These women reported using Google and other search engines because they had a lot of questions at the beginning of pregnancy, before their first doctor's appointment," she added.

Following the women's first visit to the obstetrician, many of them still turned to the internet to find answers to their questions because they felt the doctor's advice was insufficient.

The researchers conducted four focus groups, totaling 17 pregnant women - all of whom were over 18 and owned a smartphone.

Most of the mothers-to-be agreed that the structure of prenatal visits is not responsive to their individual needs. So they turned to technology to fill their knowledge gaps.

"We have found that there is a real disconnect between what we're providing in the office and what the patient wants," Kraschnewski noted.

The study was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

(Agencies)

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