Baby Basics: Prenatal Health Literacy Program at MIC Women's Health Centers
Special Projects Fund
September 20, 2007
WebsiteSEE GRANT OUTCOMES
The United States infant mortality rate is higher than that of 29 other nations, and more than 40 million adults have limited literacy skills. Many at-risk women do not receive comprehensive, coordinated care and health literacy education that would lead to healthier pregnancies and to building skills that would assist them in advocating for their own and their family’s health. Under this grant, the What to Expect Foundation (WTEF) collaborated with Public Health Solutions (PHS) to roll out its pilot-tested Baby Basics Program to low-income, low-literacy expectant and new mothers seeking prenatal and postpartum care at several New York City maternal and child health clinics run by PHS (MIC-Women’s Health Services sites). The Baby Basics Program provides health literacy tools, training, and technical assistance to everyone who works with a pregnant woman, from the receptionist, to the doctor, to the home visitor—so they can better communicate and educate underserved, expecting women. During the course of the grant, more than 5,000 mothers were reached through the five MIC sites and the home visiting programs, exceeding its expected outcomes.
This project seeks to address health disparities during pregnancy by providing health and literacy education, and supporting families in need so they can expect healthier pregnancies and safer deliveries.
The What to Expect Foundation (WTEF) takes its name from the 26-million-copy, best-selling “What to Expect” pregnancy and parenting series. Often referred to as “America’s Pregnancy Bible,” “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” is purchased by 93% of all mothers who buy pregnancy guides; however, many families cannot afford or benefit from these books. The United States infant mortality rate is higher than that of 27 other nations, and more than 40 million adults have limited literacy skills. Health and education disparities most affect the one in six babies born into poverty each year. The “Our Baby Basics” program has reached more than 250,000 expecting families nationwide.
Through this initiative, the What to Expect Foundation (WTEF) will rollout its pilot-tested Baby Basics Module to low-income, low-literacy expectant and new mothers seeking pre-natal and post-partum care at eight New York City maternal and child health clinics run by Public Health Solutions (formerly Medical and Health Research Association). The Baby Basics Module seeks to educate low-literacy expectant mothers about pre-natal and post-partum care from their first pre-natal visit onwards, while also training providers to communicate with patients in a way that ensures that they understand the care being provided. Maternal health experts will be hired to conduct the Baby Basics Modules at each of the Public Health Solutions clinic sites. A pilot study of the Baby Basics Module at an Public Health Solutions clinic site resulted in an increase in patient satisfaction and pre-natal visits.