Date of Award

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Jennifer Doering

Committee Members

Karen Morin, Teresa Johnson, Melinda Kavanaugh


prenatal, Text messages





Christine P. Laurent

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2018

Under the Supervision of Dr. Jennifer Doering

Purpose: To evaluate the feasibility of Whispers2Mom, a prenatal text messaging educational intervention designed for young adults, 18 to 26 years old. The findings of this study may inform nursing strategies to improve breastfeeding intention and rates in the emerging adult population.

Background: Childbearing young adults are among the least likely populations to breastfeed, yet their infants stand to benefit greatly from breastfeeding. Current methods of prenatal education have failed to increase rates of breastfeeding intention or initiation.

Methods: The feasibility of the Whispers2Mom prenatal text messaging program was evaluated through exploration of adherence and acceptability using a mixed methods design. Prior to data collection, daily text messages were delivered for one month. Texts addressed breastfeeding practices, barriers to breastfeeding, strategies for overcoming barriers, and these texts augmented usual prenatal care practices. A convenience sample was recruited. Data were collected using surveys and semi-structured interviews with 14 participants. Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results: The original intent was to recruit adolescents for this study, but due to many challenges with recruitment, the final sample was comprised only of young adults. Participants were on average 24 (SD= 2.4) years old, high school graduates, and married or partnered. Participants were adherent in using the Whispers2Mom prenatal text message program. Participants indicated that they found the Whispers2Mom prenatal text message program to be acceptable. Generally, the texts were helpful, informative, and provided good information. Several of the interview responses indicated increasing feelings of attachment to baby.

Conclusions: Findings suggest the Whispers2Mom intervention, as measured by self-report of acceptability and adherence was feasible. The prenatal text messaging intervention Whispers2Mom, when used as an educational tool, may be an appropriate adjunct to usual care practices. Given the positive preliminary results in this study and the fact that technology is a common and important part of the young adult’s life, text messaging may be an efficacious addition to interventions that already exist for health promotion and disease prevention during the prenatal period in emerging adults.

Included in

Nursing Commons