Information and communication technology use among low-income pregnant and postpartum women by race and ethnicity: A cross-sectional study

Nymisha Chilukuri, Meredith West, Janice Lynn Henderson, Shari Lawson, Robert Ehsanipoor, Kathleen Costigan, Sarah Polk, Wendy Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Pregnancy and the postpartum period provide windows of opportunity to impact perinatal and lifelong preventive health behavior for women and their families, but these opportunities are often missed. Understanding racial/ethnic differences in information and communication technology (ICT) use could inform technology-based interventions in diverse populations. Objective: The objective of the study was to evaluate differences in the use of ICT between racial and ethnic groups as well as by English language proficiency. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 246 women who were aged 18 years or older and pregnant or within 1 year of delivery. They were recruited from 4 hospital-based outpatient clinics and completed a self-administered survey. We used multivariate regression analysis to evaluate the association between race/ethnicity and ICT (mobile phone/short message service [SMS] text message, Internet, and social network) usage by race/ethnicity and perceived English language proficiency after adjusting for age, income, marital status, and insurance status. Results: In all, 28% (69/246) of participants were Latina, 40% (98/246) were African American, 23% (56/246) were white, and 9% (23/246) from other racial/ethnic groups. Of the Latinas, 84% (58/69) reported limited English language proficiency and 59% (41/69) were uninsured. More than 90% of all participants reported mobile phone use, but more than 25% (65/246) had changed phone numbers 2 or more times in the past year. Compared to white women, African American women were less likely to SMS text message (OR 0.07, 95% CI 0.01-0.63) and Latinas were less likely to use the Internet to find others with similar concerns (OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.08-0.73). Women with limited English language proficiency were less likely to use the Internet overall (OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.09-0.99) or use email (OR 0.22, 95% CI 0.08-0.63) compared to women with adequate English language proficiency. Conclusions: Mobile phones are widely available for the delivery of health interventions to low-income, racially diverse pregnant and postpartum women, but disparities in Internet use and SMS text messaging exist. Interventions or programs requiring Web-based apps may have lower uptake unless alternatives are available, such as those adapted for limited English proficiency populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere163
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Cell phones
  • Health services accessibility
  • Health status disparities
  • Hispanic americans
  • Internet
  • Postpartum period
  • Pregnancy
  • Text messaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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