We investigated Google queries in the years 2004-2019 as related to mode of birth methods in scope of global and local popularity, secular trends, and associations with real-world data.
We retrieved data from Google Trends (GT) over time and regional interest in (n = 9) topics related to birth. We calculated the interest of all the topics in proportion to the Relative Search Volume (RSV) of ‘Caesarean section'”(CS). We retrieved WHO data on the CS rate and the World Bank data on the fertility rate. We analysed secular trends.
Globally, the highest popularity was observed for these topics: ‘Childbirth’ (6.93 [times higher than CS]), ‘Caesarean section’ (1.00), and ‘Preterm birth’ (0.59). The regional RSV of ‘Caesarean section’ was associated with the real CS rate (r = 0.29; p = 0.016) and the interest in ‘Childbirth’ was associated with the regional fertility rate (r = 0.48; p < 0.001). Globally, the most dynamic rate of increase of interest was observed for 'Vaginal delivery' (+4.96 RSV/year) and 'Caesarean section' (+4.88 RSV/year), while a decrease was noted only for 'Home birth' (-3.04 RSV/year) and 'Water birth' (-1.84 RSV/year).
The interest of Google users in most of the birth-related topics increased over time and is associated with real-world data. Using GT may provide insight into the interest of Google users regarding different birth-related matters.
Health professionals should be active in e-discourse to provide reliable information and recommend trustworthy websites to women and those who support them.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.