Evaluating Messaging on Prenatal Health Behaviours Using Social Media Data: Systematic Review

Nessie Felicia Frennesson*, Cheryl McQuire, Saher Aijaz Khan, Julie Barnett, Luisa Zuccolo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Social media platforms are increasingly used to disseminate messages about prenatal health, which reach an increasing number of people. However, to date, we lack a systematic assessment of how to evaluate prenatal health messaging and campaigns using social media data.

The primary objective was to review the published and grey literature on how prenatal health messaging and campaigns had been evaluated to date in terms of impact, acceptability, effectiveness, and unintended consequences, using social media data.

Six electronical databases were searched and supplemented with handsearching of reference lists and other databases. Both published and grey literature were eligible for the review. Data were analysed using a content analysis for descriptive data and a thematic synthesis approach to summarise qualitative evidence. For quality assessment, a new quality appraisal tool, design specially for use with social media data, was used to be able to assess the quality of the included articles.

11 studies were eligible for the review. The results showed that the most common prenatal health behaviour targeted was alcohol consumption, and Facebook was the most commonly used source of social media data. The majority (n=6) of articles used social media for descriptive purposes only. The results also showed that there was a lack of evaluation for both effectiveness, acceptability and unintended consequences of the prenatal health message or campaign.

Social media is a widely used and potentially valuable resource for communicating and evaluating prenatal health messaging. However, this review suggests that there is a need to develop and adopt sound methodology on how to evaluate prenatal health messaging using social media data, for the benefit of future research and to inform public health practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere44912
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Early online date8 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2023


  • Prenatal health
  • Pregnancy
  • Social media
  • Health messaging
  • systematic review


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