Resource Exchange Station

Maternal Mortality through a Health Literacy Lens

Tuesday, August 20, 2019, 9:45 am - 11:15 am
Northstar Ballroom

Few studies have looked at the effect of health literacy (ability of people to understand and use health information) on maternal morbidity and mortality. A woman's ability to use discharge information may depend on the large volume given, culture, degree of sleep deprivation, physical and emotional changes, possible side effects of medicine and low health literacy. Instructions may be too complex and lack cultural sensitivity. This project was based on a two-phase study focusing on the health literacy of postpartum education. In the first phase of the study, current postnatal education materials distributed to moms after birth tested poorly on common health literacy measures including readability, understandability and cultural sensitivity of information given to moms after birth. The second phase examined the perspective of new moms receiving postnatal education on ability to access, understand, appraise and apply postnatal care instructions. Overall, improvements have been made in education delivery. However, gaps were identified in consistency and comprehensiveness of the information. To fill these gaps, health literate postnatal materials and an App were developed incorporating the feedback of the moms to increase health literacy and cultural sensitivity of postnatal education thus, assist new mothers in identifying postpartum warning signs, take appropriate action and help reduce maternal morbidity and death. The materials were tested with Community Health Workers, Master of Public Health Maternal Child students and Bachelor of Science Students in Nursing as well as postpartum nurses as proxies for postpartum women and honed down to the final iterations. Moms attended a final focus group to review and approve the tools at the end of the project. This app can be found via a QR code, as well as at and is in English and Spanish. The conclusion of this research can be a stepping stone to guide other research endeavors to improve postnatal education. Additional research could assess the changes of health outcomes following distribution of these health literate tools to postpartum women. Funding through The Texas Center for Health Disparities by the National Institute on Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health(NIH) under Award Number U54MD006882.