Telehealth Visits Can Boost Prenatal, Maternal Care
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Seeing their doctors via telehealth instead of in person during the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have been as good, and sometimes even better, for pregnant women and new moms.
Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University reviewed 28 randomized clinical trials and 14 observational studies that included more than 44,000 women. The goal was to determine the effectiveness and any harms of telehealth strategies for maternal health care.
Many of the telehealth strategies included were used to treat postpartum depression or to monitor diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy. They also served as an alternative to general maternity care for low-risk pregnancies.
Researchers found these appointments resulted in mostly similar, or sometimes better, outcomes compared with in-person care.
The authors said this may mean that telehealth can be a supplement to usual care for postpartum depression. Telehealth interventions were more likely to improve mood symptoms in the short term compared to in-person care alone, they said, though the effects might not be sustained.