Sunday, January 11, 2015

Engaging Millennials in Social Media: The Next Step for Childbirth Education

Who is the person attending childbirth education classes now?  

Gen X and Gen Y - the two most tech savvy generations, who also use social media and online learning to expand their knowledge base.  They are no strangers to social media and are now being called Digital Natives, due to them growing up with smart phones and tablets like many of us grew up with teddy bears and bicycles.

Unless guided to evidence based websites and blogs, even the most knowledgeable expectant Gen X or Y will still have a solid element of fear.  Hard to believe, studies are showing that women are not exposed to normal, uncomplicated vaginal births in the media (Morris & McInerney, 2010).  These same women may be unaware of childbirth education philosophies and practices that support low/no intervention births or physiologic births. This along with the rising cesarean rate, elective induction rate and high epidural rate, this makes for an evidence-based information dissemination nightmare.

According to Dr. Julia Kish-Doto, women of childbearing age rely heavily on social networks for health including childbirth knowledge.  By using social media to expose Gen X/Y to physiologic birth concepts, we may increase awareness of physiologic birth and decrease the fear factor.

It is also important to point out that women and especially mothers are the major influencers on their family units in regards to medical care.  If they do, in fact, rely on social media for information about pregnancy, birth, infant feeding and other medical issues, as childbirth professionals, this has become a mandate for us to assimilate social media into our education/teaching strategies.

Childbirth education using social media has a major advantage to the typical childbirth education classes: information can be accessed at ANY time day or night.  Information regarding newborns, breastfeeding and postpartum issues are available at 2 a.m. as well as 2 p.m.  To do this, we must have a robust and consistent voice on places such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  And while consistency is primary, having a tag line or recognizable logo or phrases also helps to catch the eye and draw the reader into the message.

Additionally, our message must contain something that millennials want to share.  They share often, and are 3 times more likely to share content they see on social networks and 2.3 times more likely to click back on content shared by peers.  They will cross-share over the various ecosystems (such as Facebook or Instagram) – which will take the message further!

75% of millennials want news
62% are interested in food
50% of millennials rely on video sharing websites
59% said their favorite websites are visually appealing, including infographics
57% said the best websites have content that is brief, well-written and easy to understand

We have a unique opportunity to wage a dynamic and comprehensive information campaign that can change the way our society looks at childbirth.  May is coming up and contains Mother's Day (May 12) and International Week for Respecting Childbirth (May 20-27).

What if, for one week, we all joined together in one gigantic media campaign to set right the information about childbirth, physiologic birth, evidence based information?


Kish-Doto, J. RUprego? The Role of Social Media to Educate Young Women about Low Intervention Childbirth.  Cases In Public Health, Communication & Marketing.Vol IV, Summer 2010.

Morris, T. and Mclnerney, K. Media representations of pregnancy and childbirth: an analysis of reality television programs in the US.  Birth 2010; 37(2): 134-40.

How do Brands Effectively Reach Millennials on Twitter? By Greg Vodicka March 2014

1 comment:

Woman's Work, Worth and Wisdom said...

what a great idea!!! i have long wanted to launch a childbirth ed course online and this might be the way to go