Other Information Sources

Health and Medical Information Sources for Women

There are many sources of health information on the internet; some are good, some are bad and some are just wrong! Beware of making your own diagnosis or conclusions based on what you read online as the information is by its nature general or anecdotal and won't be specific to your circumstances. If you need advice you should seek professional advice. With these comments in mind below are some sites that others have found useful:

  • Professional Bodies often include advice or fact sheets although the audience is often doctors so the information may not be that accessible or easy to understand. See eg the Royal Australasian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists or for more general information the Australian Medical Association .
  • Hospital sites that may explain information about pregnancy or your hospital visit such as The Women's  or Frances Perry House . These are generally quite informative and reflect any specific policies or procedures in operation at those facilities.
  • Government information sites often contain more accessible articles and you would expect Government endorsed information to be of a higher quality (although it is often more wordy) than general sources. For example Having a Baby in Victoria (Vic Govt) and Health direct (Fed Govt) .
  • Sites dealing with specific issues such as stopping smoking , post and antenatal depression , SIDs , or cord blood . These contain very detailed information on a single topic but may not help you see the bigger picture. Also consider who is behind the website and what their motivation is when considering the information provided.
  • Scientific/Research literature often include information about trials or in depth medical research such as the Medical Journal of Australia , UpToDate or Medline . These are generally hard for most of us to understand and easy to misinterpret unless you are familiar with the terminology.

There are also a range of popular sites containing medical advice and information particularly about pregnancy. Some of these include Wikipedia (contributions from the general public), Virtual Medical Centre (backed by Telstra), Essential Baby (backed by Fairfax - a newspaper publisher), BabyCenter (backed by Johnson & Johnson - a medical products supplier), BubHub (a commercial site endorsed by the College of Midwives) and Birth (a business backed by a private company, KidSpot).

The internet is a large and unregulated place. It is exceedingly easy and inexpensive to make any viewpoint or information available to a worldwide audience. Very different opinions on an issue exist side by side without any guide to which is right. People passionately assert that they have a cure/magic bullet/the only way to do this is X/nothing else worked etc.

Keep a healthy wariness about what you read online (or in a book for that matter). Care should always be taken in assessing the qualifications and backgrounds of the authors of information (although how do you know that they actually have the qualifications claimed?) and the motivations of the website owners. If in doubt you should seek professional advice from people who will take responsibility for ensuring the information they provide is based on facts and years of experience.

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