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Improving prenatal health with the Baby Basics program

Lisa Bernstein, The What To Expect Foundation, 144 W, 80th Street, New York, NY 10024, 212-712-9764, lisab@whattoexpect.org

Research shows low education and literacy levels as risk factors of poor prenatal health. As female literacy rates increase, infant mortality rates decrease. Conversely, women with low educational attainment seek prenatal care later in their pregnancy, increasing the risk of infant mortality. Yet an awareness of an expecting motherís educational level or her health literacy -- her ability to understand and act upon these important health messages -- is rarely factored into prenatal health promotion campaigns. The What To Expect Foundationís BABY BASICís prenatal health literacy program provides low-income pregnant women with culturally and linguistically appropriate prenatal health education and provides health literacy training to prenatal healthcare providers. The Baby Basics model programs are being built across the country including the teen prenatal clinic at Bellevue Hospital in NYC. Baby Basics prenatal sites receive materials and training in health literacy and are partnered with social service agencies and adult literacy providers so that the entire ďprenatal communityĒ uses standardized materials and phrasing to discuss pregnancy. While healthcare providers use the BABY BASICS materials to teach prenatal care, adult literacy providers use these materials to teach patients how to read, addressing two critical risk factors of infant mortality and poor prenatal health.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Health Literacy, Prenatal Interventions

Related Web page: www.whattoexpect.org

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: The What To Expect Foundation
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Innovative and Collaborative Health Literacy Initiatives in New York City

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA