Evaluation of health literacy of pregnant women in urban health centers of Shahid Beheshti Medical University



 Background and Objective: Health literacy is “The degree to
which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and
understand basic health information and
services needed to make appropriate health decisions”, that
is an important element in woman’s ability to engage in health promotion and
prevention activities both for herself and her children. The purpose of this
study was to investigate the health literacy level of pregnant women in urban
health centers of
Shahid Beheshti Medical
University.    Materials and Methods: In a cross-sectional study (a
descriptive-analytical one), 240 pregnant women who received prenatal care from
health centers were investigated using the test of Functional Health Literacy for
adults.    Results: The mean age of the sample was 27.7 years (SD=5.1)
and the mean age of education was 10.6 years (SD=3.3 range: 1-22). In
addition, 30% of participants had low, 24.6% had marginal and 45.4% had
adequate health literacy. Health literacy was significantly different by the
location of the health centers (x2=24.47, df=6,
p < 0.001), age (x2=21.86, df=8, p < 0.005), and
education (x2=90.16, df=8, p < 0.001). Based on the multiple regression,
health literacy was significantly associated with level of education (t=9.41,
p < 0.001), age (t=2.56,
p < 0.011), and employment (t=2.01, p < 0.045).   Conclusion: This study showed that limited functional
health literacy is a widespread problem in pregnant women. Low health literacy
may impair a patient’s understanding of health messages and advices, so health
providers should use effective educational methods for people who have limited
reading and writing abilities.