Objective: The present study aimed to investigate the health information seeking behavior, applicability and the evaluation of health information obtained from the Internet by Iranian pregnant women.
Design and setting: The present study was descriptive-survey. The study population included 196 pregnant women in different gestational months referred to hospitals with Obstetrics and Gynecology ward in Hamadan, Iran on September and October in 2016 who were selected based on stratified random sampling method. The data were collected through a researcher-made questionnaire.
Findings: Most pregnant women, while facing with pregnancy problems, seek out health information from the Internet and they often trust the information and share with their doctor. The information increases their awareness about pregnancy. Websites and social networks are two important sources in finding health information and reference of content and educated authors are regarded as two important criteria in evaluating health information obtained from the Internet. In addition, fetal development and nutrition during pregnancy were regarded as two important issues having the most searches among pregnant women.
Conclusion: Internet has become a popular source for health information finding. The high importance of the accuracy of information used by pregnant women and the vulnerability of this range of society highlight the need to equip hospital libraries with update resources of the information and amenities such as suitable seats, ventilation, and the like. Using medical librarians and informants and referral of pregnant women to these libraries by a doctor or midwife in order to obtain valid information, standardization of Persian-based digital libraries related to health, introducing valid portals for pregnant women are regarded as some important issues in this regard. Familiarizing pregnant women, especially in developing countries, with various types of content on the Internet and how to find valid information by medical librarians can facilitate the access to information for pregnant women and reduce many complications raised by the lack of reliable and valid information.