Start Your Journey to Perinatal Health Literacy

At CCCN, we value respect, collaboration and support. The following piece is intended to offer our values through informative content writing through our Summer Internship for the Professionals to Community Program and acknowledges that families can be created with any parent, family, guardian or primary caregiver in all family types.

As an aspiring Public Health professional, promoting health literacy has become a passion. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has mentioned in their health literacy blog, “improving health literacy depends on the support and actions of many organizations working at all levels of society.” The CCCN provides resources for all, and being a part of this team allows me to share my passion for equitable information for health-related decision-making and support. Below, I introduce the basics of health literacy, prenatal/antenatal care, how partners have a role in this time, and relevant resources.


What is Health Literacy?

Health literacy, defined by the CDC, is when an individual has the ability to understand and inform themselves on health behaviors or decisions. In terms of perinatal health, health literacy would be for individuals to find and understand health decisions and behaviors to better their perinatal health in preconception to the first year of parenting. One way to start your journey to perinatal health literacy would be to find information on prenatal/antenatal care.

“Improving health literacy depends on the support and actions of many organizations working at all levels of society.”

What is Prenatal/Antenatal Care?

According to Women’s Health, prenatal care, also known as antenatal care, is attending regular doctor visits as soon as you know you are pregnant. Prenatal care is essential for the health of you and your future baby; in comparison to birthing parents who do not receive prenatal care are fives time more likely to die in labor and three times more likely to have low birth weight (Office on Women’s Health 2019). These complications may occur when not receiving prenatal care because doctors can help you spot complications during your pregnancy and recommend solutions (Office on Women’s Health 2019). What to expect at a prenatal visit solely depends on the birthing parent’s conditions and the baby.

Can my partner be involved in Prenatal care?

Yes! Your partner can be a part of your prenatal visits and learn along with you. For example, this year, I took a public health research methods course during my spring semester, and one of our assignments was to write a literature review. During my research, I learned that the father’s involvement (of course, this can be for any partner regardless of gender and orientation) could improve maternal health outcomes. According to Mersha (2018), male involvement can reduce maternal morbidity and mortality and improve maternal health services utilization by men’s engagement when discussing strategies with their partners. This was a cross-sectional study analyzing the male involvement during pregnancy, measured by their knowledge of obstetric risks and complication readiness. In the result of this study, Mersha (2018) recommended the involvement of the non-birthing partner to build health literacy on postpartum risk symptoms, as birth preparedness and complication readiness can help the life of the birthing parent and baby.


If you reside on the central coast and are looking for a network of health professionals to jumpstart your journey with prenatal care, check out the Central Coast Childbirth Network (CCCN) member directory. Listed below are other resources listed on the CCCN website on childbirth education with direct links.

“You never understand life until it grows inside of you.”

Authored by:

Bernice Nuñez, CCCN Intern 2021

UC Merced Public Health B.A. | Class of 2022

Connect with me on Linkedin


Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). What Is Health Literacy? Centers

for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/learn/index.html.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Blog. Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/blog.html.

Mersha, A. G. (2018). Male involvement in the maternal health care system: Implication towards

decreasing the high burden of maternal mortality. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 18(1). doi:10.1186/s12884-018-

2139-9

Office on Women’s Health. (2019). Prenatal care. Women’s Health.

https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/prenatal-care


Disclaimer: The opinions or beliefs expressed by various authors on this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs, and viewpoints of Central Coast Childbirth Network, INC. Central Coast Childbirth Network, INC does not offer medical advice. The content on this blog is for informational purposes only. The author's opinions are based upon information they consider reliable; thus, Central Coast Childbirth Network warrants its completeness or accuracy and should not be relied upon as such.