Identifying Mobile Health Technology Experiences and Preferences of Low-Income Pregnant Women with Diabetes

Karolina Leziak, Eleanor Birch, Jenise Jackson, Angelina Strohbach, Charlotte Niznik, Lynn M. Yee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Rapid expansion of mobile technology has resulted in the development of many mobile health (“mHealth”) platforms for health monitoring and support. However, applicability, desirability, and extent of tailoring of these platforms for pregnant women, particularly in populations who experience the greatest health inequities—such as women with diabetes mellitus (DM) and/or those with greater socioeconomic barriers—remains unknown. The objective is to understand low-income pregnant women’s experiences and preferences for mHealth tools to support DM health and improve DM self-management during pregnancy. Methods: Low-income pregnant and postpartum women were included in individual interviews or focus groups; women with type 2 DM, gestational DM, or no DM were included. Analysis was performed with the constant comparison method. Results: In this population of 45 (N=37 with DM) low-income, largely minority, pregnant and postpartum women, 100% reported access to smartphones and prior experience with apps. Interest in mHealth to support health and engagement during pregnancy was high. Preferences for general mHealth features included education that reduces uncertainty, support communities, visualizing progress, convenient access to information, and support for better management of pregnancy-related tasks. Preferred design elements included personalization, interactive features, and integrated graphics. Women with DM expressed multiple additional DM-specific needs, including support tools for DM self-management and self-regulation tasks. Conclusion: Pregnant and postpartum women, especially those with DM, desire mHealth technology to support engagement and to adapt lifestyle guidelines and treatment requirements for a healthy pregnancy. Further work to develop mHealth interventions tailored for target populations remains a key step in reducing health inequities and promoting access to evidence-based perinatal health interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1018-1026
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Diabetes Science and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • behavioral intervention
  • diabetes
  • mobile health
  • pregnancy
  • smartphone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Internal Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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