Slimmer Zwanger program evolves
Slimmer Zwanger receives CE class 1 certificate for e-Health applications in healthcare
The personal coaching program Slimmer Zwanger (Smarter Pregnancy), launched in January 2012 by Erasmus MC, has satisfied users. New modules have expanded the Slimmer Zwanger program as of September 2013. A website for mobile phones and advice sent by text messaging and e-mail currently guides more than 1,500 expectant parents in learning and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle habits.
An evaluation of the 2012 results has shown that practically all expectant parents are positive about the use of Slimmer Zwanger. They indicate that they are now more aware of their diet and lifestyle habits. These healthy habits reduce the likelihood of infertility in women and men and also reduce the risks of complications during pregnancy and around the time of childbirth. Furthermore, they feel that Slimmer Zwanger really helps them. Of the 526 women who started the program, 68 had completed the program within a year, 332 were still participating in the program and 126 women (24%) had dropped out. The percentage of women taking folic acid increased in six months from 78 to 87. The percentage of women that did not eat enough fruit dropped from 78 to 63 and the percentage not eating enough vegetables decreased from 59 to 32. The number of women smoking decreased by 6 percent.
Slimmer Zwanger has been expanded to further improve the quality of healthcare through extra coaching modules for good and safe use of medication, for the follow-up of treatment and appointments, and for exercise coaching. It is partly due to this that the program, as one of the few e-Health applications, has received the highest CE Class 1 certificate for use in healthcare. Furthermore, the new version of Slimmer Zwanger provides all users with three seasonal recipes weekly and vitamin D advice.
Unhealthy diet and lifestyle habits of expectant parents contribute to a reduced chance of becoming pregnant, an increased risk of birth defects and growth disorders in children and more problems related to childbirth. Unhealthy habits are not easy to change. Erasmus MC wants to make a positive contribution to this through Slimmer Zwanger (www.slimmerzwanger.nl), thereby improving the quality of care. The screening tests of the coaching program and the program’s self-test can also be used by midwives, gynecologists, general practitioners and other care providers to identify points for improvement in diet and lifestyle habits of patients quickly and easily and to monitor behavior changes over time.
The program is an initiative of Prof. Régine Steegers-Theunissen, physician-epidemiologist at the Obstetrics and Gynecology department of Erasmus MC. Steegers: “There is certainly a need for Slimmer Zwanger, as there is almost nothing as difficult as changing unhealthy diet and lifestyle habits. Slimmer Zwanger will not replace personal visits to physicians or midwives. However, it has already proven to be a valuable tool for people who may not live a particularly healthy life, but wish to do something about it, and for care providers to improve the quality of care.”
Participants can screen themselves via the website on their mobile phone or computer where details such as age, body mass index and various dietary and lifestyle risk factors are checked. Depending on the risk factors present, an individual coaching program is determined by way of a computer program and this program will periodically send text messages or e-mails by mobile phone with tips, facts and recipes. Steegers: “After the initial screening, four more screenings will take place every six weeks. The coaching program is adapted depending on whether someone is pregnant so that coaching remains tailor-made.”
Slimmer Zwanger is intended for all women and men wanting to have children. Achmea reimburses the costs for participating in Slimmer Zwanger for those insured by Achmea as well as those insured by other healthcare insurance companies. See www.slimmerzwanger.nl.
Erasmus MC is the largest and most authoritative scientific University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Almost 13,000 staff members work within the core tasks of patient care, education, and scientific research on the continuous improvement and enforcement of individual patient care and social healthcare. They develop high-level knowledge, pass this on to future professionals, and apply it in everyday patient care. Over the next five years, Erasmus MC wants to grow into one of the best medical institutes in the world. Erasmus MC is part of the Dutch Federation of University Medical Centers (NFU): www.nfu.nl.