Educational materials used by healthcare agencies frequently do not follow national health guidelines for plain talk. Adolescent mothers are a vulnerable population in need of accurate and accessible health information to promote their own health and that of their baby. The aims of our study were to: Determine acceptability of simple, written educational pamphlets to adolescent mothers; Determine efficacy of simple, written educational pamphlets in improving an adolescent mother's knowledge related to breastfeeding, infant care, postpartum depression, and mother–infant relationship; Determine if higher knowledge scores are maintained after a 2-week period; and Determine general parenting health literacy of adolescent mothers.
Using a prospective, experimental design, students enrolled in a teen parent program (n = 123) completed a pretest and The Parent Health Literacy Activities Test (PHLAT), read the health educational materials, and completed an immediate posttest of knowledge and acceptability. Two weeks later, the same participants completed a second posttest of knowledge.
Adolescent mothers found the intervention (simple, written educational materials) to be acceptable. The intervention was initially effective in improving knowledge scores in all four content areas. However, knowledge was not retained and scores were not significantly different from baseline at the 2-week assessment. The mean health literacy of the adolescent mothers was poor.
A booster session may be necessary for knowledge retention. Other methods of education should be studied to evaluate efficacy for adolescent mothers' knowledge retention of important health information.
Pregnant teens are in need of education about many aspects of prenatal health, labor, birth and postpartum, and infant care. The process of learning important information about maternal-newborn care and the challenges of retaining the information over time are explored in this study. Health literacy is essential to promoting quality outcomes for mothers and babies.
M. Cynthia Logsdon is a Professor, School of Nursing, University of Louisville, Associate Chief of Nursing for Research, University of Louisville Hospital/Brown Cancer Center, 555 South Floyd Street, Health Sciences Center, Louisville, KY. She can be reached via e-mail at Mclogs01@louisville.edu
Deborah Winders Davis is a Professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.
Reetta Stikes is a Perinatal Educator, University of Louisville Hospital, Louisville, KY.
Rachel Ratterman is a Medical Coordinator, Teenage Parent Program, Louisville, KY.
Lesa Ryan is a Research Assistant, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.
John Myers is an Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.
All authors report that there are no conflicts of interest related to this study.