UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering


Online resource for first-time mothers

A co-designed website provides practical information and social support for new mothers.

Screenshot of the bump2bump website with feedback on sticky notes

8 January 2020

First-time pregnancy is a significant life event and new motherhood is overwhelmingly portrayed as a time of fulfilment and stability. However, up to 20% of women experience clinical levels of anxiety or depression during pregnancy and most report some form of distress in the early weeks of becoming a mum

Multiple factors - including strong social support, feeling in control and feeling able to cope -are associated with better antenatal and postnatal maternal health, relationship satisfaction and child outcomes. Pregnant women rely on websites and apps for information and social support but can find it difficult to know which resources to trust.

bump2bump is a personalised digital social support tool for first-time pregnancy, combining eHealth and human-computer interaction (HCI) research. The multidisciplinary project is led by Dr Nikki Newhouse (UCL Interaction Centre & UCL eHealth Unit) who wanted to develop and evaluate a digital tool that supports maternal wellbeing in first-time pregnancy.

The website was developed through co-design with pregnant women, new mothers, healthcare professionals and usability experts. The researchers held interviews and workshops where they identified users’ needs, and iterative cycles of participant feedback informed the website’s content and design.

The project was evaluated ‘in-the-wild’ over the course of three months by a group of women who were having their first babies. Design features that supported users’ trust in the content, facilitated face-to-face interaction with local similar women and provided brief, practical information were found to be most important in meeting user needs.

Nikki is now applying key findings from the study to a resource targeting underserved new mothers, which is due for launch in late spring 2020.

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