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Internet-based interventions for postpartum anxiety: exploring health visitors’ views

Ashford, M., Olander, E. K., Rowe, H. , Fisher, J.R.W. & Ayers, S. (2017). Internet-based interventions for postpartum anxiety: exploring health visitors’ views. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 35(3), pp. 298-308. doi: 10.1080/02646838.2017.1313966


Objective: This study aimed to explore health visitors’ (HVs) views on the acceptability and potential implementation of internet-based postpartum anxiety interventions in their practice.

Background: Internet-based self-help has been shown to be effective and acceptable for postpartum depression. Recently, an internet-based intervention has been developed for postpartum anxiety. Before implementing new anxiety interventions in postpartum care, it is important to determine the acceptability and ways of implementing such interventions. This study therefore explored HVs’ views on this, as they are the some of the key healthcare professionals supporting women postpartum.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 HVs across the UK. Audio-recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: Five themes emerged – suitability; benefits; concerns; importance of one-to-one support; implementation. Internet-based interventions were seen as suitable as an additional option for a sub-group of postpartum women. Identified benefits included increased availability of a treatment tool for postpartum anxiety and treatment anonymity and flexibility. Reported concerns were the women’s state of mind, decreased human and professional contact, as well as IT access and literacy and language skills. HVs considered the most feasible way to implement internet-based interventions would be to have flyers for HVs to include with other information provided after birth or to hand out and discuss during their visits. The need for sufficient evidence of treatment efficacy and appropriate training was highlighted.

Conclusion: This study highlights the opportunities and challenges that need to be considered before implementing internet-based interventions for postpartum anxiety in the postpartum care.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published online by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology on 13/04/2017, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Postnatal care, anxiety, internet intervention, health visitors, qualitative methods
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4050 Electronic information resources
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of HV views on internet-based therapy_manuscript_City publications.pdf]
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