Smartphone-based counseling and postpartum lactation

This article is on based on information presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting, which will be held from Jan. 25 to Jan. 30.

For more information and registration details, visit SMFM.org.

Technology platforms continue to make their way into obstetrical care.

Researchers from the Edith Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel, found that a smartphone-based daily feedback and counseling platform between postpartum women and a multidisciplinary lactation-support team increased lactation rates 3 months postpartum.

With a specifically developed app, a multidisciplinary team consisting of obstetricians, neonatologists, nurses, lactation counselors, and a psychologist provided counseling to assist and counsel postpartum women in maintaining lactation. For the study, researchers recruited 197 women at day 1 postpartum who planned to breastfeed. Women were randomized to either the control group, who received routine lactation counseling and support, or the app group, who received additional daily detailed counseling and feedback on lactation from the team via the app.

The primary outcome was partial or full lactation at 3 months. With 100 women in the control group and 97 in the app group, the app group demonstrated higher rates of lactation at 3 months postpartum (81.4% vs. 69.0%, p=0.04) as well as lactation 6 weeks postpartum (96.9% vs. 82.0%, p<0.001), compared to the control group. Patients in the app group reported excellent satisfaction from the app use and from their postnatal care.

In a personal note, Dr. Miremberg adds, "We believe our study adds to the growing data of the use of telemedicine in obstetric care. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of telemedicine is even more emphasized. Mothers who face the difficulties of breastfeeding and the emotional "roller-coaster" of the postpartum period should be able to use easy and accessible technology to receive professional support from their caregivers."

Miremberg is a 6th-year resident in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Edith Wolfson Center in Holon, Israel and is affiliated with Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel.