Feasibility and acceptability of text messaging to support antenatal healthcare in Iraqi pregnant women: a pilot study

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine the feasibility and acceptability of mobile health technology and its potential to improve antenatal care (ANC) services in Iraq.

Methods:

This was a controlled experimental study conducted at primary health care centers. One hundred pregnant women who attended those centres for ANC were exposed to weekly text messages varying in content, depending on the week of gestation, while 150 women were recruited for the unexposed group. The number of ANC visits in the intervention and control groups, was the main outcome measure. The Mann-Whitney test and the Poisson regression model were the two main statistical tests used.

Results:

More than 85% of recipients were in agreement with the following statements: “the client recommends this program for other pregnant women”, “personal rating for the message as a whole” and “obtained benefit from the messages”. There was a statistically significant increase in the median number of antenatal clinic visits from two to four per pregnancy, in addition to being relatively of low cost, and could be provided for a larger population with not much difference in the efforts.

Conclusions:

Text messaging is feasible, low cost and reasonably acceptable to Iraqi pregnant women, and encourages their ANC visits.

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