Systematic development of an evidence-based website on preconception care
Introduction: In February 2015, the Flemish Minister of Welfare, Public Health and Family launched a website on preconception care: ‘gezondzwangerworden.be’. The website was developed in response to the lack of comprehensive communication on preconception care and the inadequate intake of folic acid among Flemish women. Despite the international recommendation to take 400 μg folic acid on a daily basis one month before conception until 12 weeks of pregnancy, studies show a lack of compliance in women wanting to become pregnant.
Procedure: A compilation of evidence was made through reviewing well-established guidelines on preconception and prenatal care. The quality of guidelines was assessed by means of AGREE II. The topics included in the website were selected by an internal committee of 5 experts and an external committee of 16 experts. Content validation was carried out by 40 experts in preconception care or related topics.
Results: The above-described procedure resulted in an evidence-based website with a selection of relevant, validated information for both women and men who plan a pregnancy and professionals who are consulted by these people.
Evaluation and recommendation: The website is currently attracting a constant number of 100 to 200 visitors a day. The information on folic acid is among the most requested, which is an important finding with regard to the policy objectives on preconception care. More research is needed in order to evaluate the use and effect of the website more thoroughly.
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