Whether planning, growing, or raising a family, your employees will inevitably have questions—some that can be answered by their support system of friends and family, and some that require clinical or scientific advice. They'll often turn to the internet or social media for answers, but they're more likely to find inaccurate or misleading information than clinically-vetted answers.
Digital communities play a huge role in modern family-building
As people work through the endless challenges of the parenthood journey, there is no substitute for a supportive community. Nearly 90 percent of millennials use social media, and they’re often tempted to seek answers and reassurance online. Digital communities centered around family planning or raising children offer people a vital link to people who share their values and lived experiences. Especially during the pandemic, these digital communities offer support to those who might not have in-person communities to lean on, and especially for people from underserved or historically marginalized communities like women of color and LGBTQIA+ individuals. However, social media can also paint a misleading picture of parental perfection, a pressure that nearly 80 percent of millennial moms experience.
During periods of change and transition like fertility treatments, pregnancy, and new parenthood, people need community as much as they need accurate information. “While not perfect, the internet has allowed people to form social bonds with each other and allowed tremendous information to be shared,” says Ginny Bowers, Nurse-Midwife and Lactation consultant. “These online communities are not only enjoyable but crucial for certain individuals who might not otherwise have any local, social, informational resources available to them.” Studies suggest that pregnant and postpartum people are likely to experience loneliness during periods of major transition, which can intensify feelings of stress and anxiety that lead to negative postpartum outcomes.
"Normal social touchpoints are not options right now because of COVID,” explains Emma Haak McKinley, Director of Editorial Content at Maven Clinic. “It’s really easy in pregnancy and during fertility treatments to feel like this is an experience that is happening to you, rather than an experience you’re a partner in. And a big part of that comes from a lack of information about what’s happening.” Maintaining connections to a caring, educational community can provide much-needed wisdom and comfort in an overwhelming time, helping parents and parents-to-be feel secure and confident in their decisions.
Parents in your workplace are susceptible to misinformation
When searching for answers online, it can be difficult to tell the difference between credible news and misinformation. Several mainstream parenting groups were time and again led to more extreme content and exposed to conspiracy theories and misinformation. For example, according to a study from George Washington University, parenting communities on Facebook were subject to powerful vaccine misinformation campaigns during the early days of the pandemic. Consequently, an October 2021 study found that 61% of pregnant people were unaware of the CDC’s recommendation to get vaccinated during pregnancy.
With the onslaught of information online, it can be hard for expecting and aspiring parents to find accurate information across the websites and apps directed towards them. Pregnancy apps in particular are often created by lifestyle companies without input from medical practitioners. A 2021 study surveyed 29 pregnancy apps and found over 60 percent did not have comprehensive information and only 28 percent cited medical literature. Fertility tracking apps do not give a full picture of reproductive health—and can prey on fear and anxiety to drive user engagement. This lack of access to scientifically sound information combined with America’s lagging media literacy can lead to people believing dangerous misinformation about their health.
Misinformation about parenting and fertility can impact the health of your employees. “While it is always important to be certain that you are consuming correct information, this absolutely must be the case during a pregnancy,” explains Bowers. “Many midwives have heard stories where someone obtained incorrect information via the internet that ultimately resulted in their harm.”
Here’s how you can make sure your team has access to accurate information:
Encourage them to check sources and credibility
Just because something is presented as a fact doesn’t mean it is. Encourage your team to check all sources when they’re online. Some key factors to look out for are the author, the purpose of the piece, the date published, the reputation of the publisher, and if there’s any paid promotion.
Examine the content in the benefits you offer
Your benefits likely have content like blogs, videos, and articles centered around what they offer. Unfortunately, many people will take what they’ve read at face value, not checking to ensure it is accurate. Make sure you’re evaluating the content from your vendors and understand where they’re getting their information from.
Communicate openly with employees about misinformation
Raise the bar on your employees’ healthcare with clear communication about fertility, pregnancy, and parenthood. Educating employees on misinformation can be the difference between someone feeling informed with accurate facts, or using an unverified source to make a healthcare decision.
Maven’s approach to content and community
Why is it essential to make sure that employees at your organization have access to trusted information? This is a growing problem with far-reaching impacts, but making a difference is as simple as providing inclusive, clinically vetted sources for content and advice. With access to up-to-date, high-quality information on their parenting journey, Maven offers members a variety of ways to engage with content and community, including articles and online classes.
In-app educational content
What sets Maven content apart is that not only are articles and tips personalized for each member, all of the experts quoted have been vetted and meet the standards of a Maven healthcare provider. “It’s hard to know where information is coming from online. Coming to Maven is so much better than diving into the black hole of the internet,” says Haak McKinley. “If someone is quoted on Maven, they have the right credentials and experience. They’re going to give you trusted information.”
To provide members with a sense of community, Maven offers 25 virtual classes led by healthcare professionals like Toddler Nutrition 101 and Male Fertility 101 on a rotating basis, along with weekly drop-in meetings for new parents. “At these meetings, you can hear someone talk about challenges they’re having, and other parents chime in with support and reassurance,” says Haak McKinley. “It helps to normalize any issues.” Openly talking to other people going through the process of planning, raising, and growing a family normalizes the fact that this experience is overwhelming, confusing, and sometimes lonely.
As you look to provide your team with the best resources for their pregnancy and parenting journey, Maven is here to help. Maven is the largest virtual clinic for women’s and family health, designed to personalize content through every stage of planning, raising, and growing a family. Interested in learning more? Get in touch.
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