Do smartphone apps provide pregnant women with accurate nutritional advice?

Our researchers looked at smartphone apps targeted at women who are pregnant to find out whether the nutritional information they provide is accurate and evidence based.
  • Author's list

    Dr Angela Flynn, Dr Sara White, Professor Lucilla Poston, Catherine Bland, Dr Kathryn Dalrymple

    Start date: 2019
    End date: 2020

  • Research centre

  • Research status

    Completed projects

Why do we need this research?

Having a healthy diet during pregnancy is incredibly important. If a woman has a balanced diet, she can provide her baby with all the nutrients it needs to grow, which can improve the health of the baby both during pregnancy and in the future. 

Increasingly, pregnant women in the UK use smartphone apps to find out about nutrition during pregnancy. However, these apps are unregulated and it is unclear whether the information they provide is accurate and based on scientific evidence. We need to understand more so that we can make sure that pregnant women are provided with the best information possible.

What happened in this project?

Researchers funded by Tommy’s looked at 29 apps that are targeted at pregnant women to find out more about the nutritional advice that they provide. They found that the quality of pregnancy-specific nutritional information varied significantly between the apps, with several apps providing advice that was inappropriate for pregnant women.

What difference will this project make?

This project has shown that there is a need for better regulation of smartphone apps aimed at pregnant women to ensure that the information they provide is comprehensive, accurate and based on scientific evidence. In the future, it will be important that app developers work closely with researchers, health professionals and maternity organisations to improve the quality of the nutritional information included in their apps.