Postnatal Education through a Health Literacy Lens
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Purpose: Globally, approximately 830 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Few studies have looked at the effect of health literacy on maternal morbidity and mortality. The purpose of this study was to examine health literacy of postpartum education from the perspective of new moms using the Integrated Model of Health Literacy (Sorensen, 2012). Methods: This study assessed readability, understandability and cultural sensitivity of postnatal information. We measured the ability of postpartum mothers to access, understand, appraise and apply postnatal care instructions at home through semi-structured, one-on-one interviews analyzed using qualitative methods. Results: Gaps were identified in the Access domain due to a lack of consistency and comprehensiveness of the information provided to new moms. Gaps represented reports of too much information, lack of time to read and lack of cultural sensitivity of postnatal education particularly in regard to postpartum depression. Conclusion: Findings suggest a need for standardized, concise, health literate and culturally sensitive postpartum education and materials to assist new moms in identifying postpartum warning-signs, take appropriate action and help reduce maternal morbidity and mortality.