Online forums 'could aid maternal health'

Internet forums could help new mothers, according to a new report.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria in Canada studied online communications between 40 women who all gave birth in the same year.

The study, published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, found that online forums can offer tailored support for maternal health on practical issues such as breastfeeding.

It added that women can also benefit from the emotional support which such forums can offer.

Professor Wendy Hall from the University of British Columbia said that the new mothers "drew great benefits from the advice, support and friendship they received".

She added: "The forum we studied clearly shows that the opportunity to share experiences with like-minded, local women can stop pregnant women and mothers from feeling isolated and worrying about giving birth and parenting."

Recent research by the University of Western Australia found that women who binge drink during the early stages of pregnancy are at an increased risk of giving birth prematurely.