Pregnancy in Plain Language

Health literacy during pregnancy is imperative to successful health outcomes for both the woman and fetus. Using plain language is essential to effective health educational material. Even patients with adequate literacy prefer health information written in plain language. Prospective parents with low literacy can experience many challenges when seeking health information. Materials written for these parents needs to be both readable and usable.

“… women with limited health literacy are less likely to take folic acids during pregnancy or engage in prenatal care at a later gestational age, and have more hospital stays. Moreover, these women are less likely to engage in breastfeeding for the first two months after birth.” – F. Nawabi et al.

There are three main areas where low health literacy can affect health:

  1. health care access and use
  2. doctor (or health care provider) and patient interactions
  3. health behaviour

Some struggles with low literacy can include having trouble understanding prescriptions or doctor’s instructions, having difficulty determining if a website is providing reputable health information or having a hard time participating in counselling about medical decisions. It is therefore important for health care providers to communicate clearly with their pregnant patients and offer good quality resources written in plain language. For a selection of plain language pregnancy materials, check out the resources below.

Plain Language Pregnancy Resources

Indigenous Materials

Multi-lingual Materials

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