Aims or Objectives: To determine the prevalence of limited health literacy in pregnant women at risk of gestational diabetes (GDM). Additionally, this study aimed to describe demographic and pregnancy-related factors, including outcomes, in those with limited health literacy.
Methods: The study design was a single-centre, prospective observational one. Pregnant women at risk of GDM completed a demographic questionnaire and were interviewed. Two validated health literacy measures, namely, the Newest Vital Sign (NVS) and the EU Health Literacy Survey (HLS), were administered. Pregnancy outcomes were collected.
Results: 297 pregnant women participated and GDM was diagnosed in 30 women (10.3%). Seventy five women (25.3%) had limited functional health literacy and 113 women (38%) had limited general health literacy. Literacy was significantly associated with smoking, parental ethnic origin, type of health insurance and income. Women with limited health literacy were less likely to take pre-pregnancy folic acid, 53.5% versus 67.8% in women with adequate health literacy (p< 0.02). There were also less likely to breast feed, 60.6% versus 72.5% (p< 0.001). This study found no association between health literacy and pregnancy outcomes.
Conclusions or Summary: Limited health literacy is common among pregnant women at risk for GDM. Limited health literacy is associated with behavioural factors which can impact on pregnancy outcomes. Further studies are required to assess the impact of limited health literacy on maternal and neonatal outcomes.