As Professor Nagle explains, a pregnant woman is offered a series of scans and tests early in pregnancy. Medical experts supervising and providing these screening tests are checking for fetal abnormalities at this time, but the pregnant woman may not fully appreciate this and is often unprepared should a potential issue arise.
“A lot of the important decisions that pregnant women need to make about their health care are value-based. This app aims to educate women so that they know what information is relevant to them, and they can make informed decisions about which tests to have.”
“Working clinically, I knew we could do a better job in helping patients’ informed decision making. Particularly helping them understand some really complex screening information at a time when they were very happy with the news of pregnancy.
“You can imagine the shock when a woman goes for a blood test and ultrasound thinking they are going to have a picture of the baby but instead they are confronted with something not quite right on ultrasound, or where the risk of an abnormality has been picked up.”
Having an app that women can easily access early in their pregnancy for education will help prepare them for unexpected moments in the doctor’s office. Of course, the app is not a stand-alone tool but can be used to access correct information.
“It needs to be adjuvant to clinical care,” Professor Nagle says. “It's not meant to take the place of the clinician. But when pregnancy visits with your GP or your obstetrician are so quick, it doesn't always allow in-depth discussion, even though screening information is generally quite complex.
“It is meant to allow the woman and her partner to read as much information as they need. Some women just want the summary version. The app provides the summary as well as extra information and resources so every woman can find what she’s looking for.” Professor Nagle says.
Professor Nagle worked with a team that included maternal and fetal medicine obstetricians, epidemiologists and genetic counsellors to bring the project to fruition.
“It's really exciting. Oftentimes, you might have an idea for research but there may not be funding or resources to disseminate it. So, this is a ‘good news’ story in that so many people were involved to develop the app.”