Online Birth Plans and Anticipatory Guidance: A Critical Review Using Web Analytics and Crowdsourcing

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Abstract

We assessed the content of online birth plans using Web analytics and crowdsourcing to identify the most commonly accessed online birth plans. We analyzed the first 14 websites of 6 different searches across time. We repeated this search using 200 individuals recruited by a commercial crowdsourcing service. We identified the 12 URLs that appeared most frequently from all searches then categorized the content by relevance to stages of labor or newborn care. Twenty-five different URLs with customizable birth plans were identified by clinical and crowdsourced searches, with considerable overlap. Among the most commonly identified birth plans, we found prompts for outdated practices in a minority (18%-37%). The majority of online birth plans can be positive tools for shared decision making.

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