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PCHHC Newsletter
March 2014
Preconception Health for Latinas 
Recommendations for preconception and interconception care strive
to address the needs of all women of reproductive age. Latinas are a diverse group of women who continue to face disparities in preconception health. Across the nation, Latinas have higher rates of unintended pregnancies, are three times more likely to have a child with neural tube defects, and are less likely to know about the importance of taking folic acid prior to pregnancy.  As a population, Latinos in the US are the least likely group to have access to health insurance, limiting access to consistent, high quality reproductive and preventive care.  More research to evaluate the effectiveness of national preconception care strategies with specific ethnic groups should be explored. Although Latinos often experience adverse health outcomes that are further exacerbated due to discrimination and residency status, culturally relevant, community-based services have proven to be valuable resources in addressing such health issues.
Making an Impact Through Culturally Relevant Programs: Innovative Practices in Engaging the Latino Population

The newly immigrated Latino population in the southeastern US has high fertility rates and low access to reproductive health information and services, resulting in significant health disparities. Research conducted in South Carolina indicates a vast need for preconception health education among Latinos in order to address these disparities effectively before pregnancy occurs. PASOs (meaning "steps" in Spanish) is a community-based organization responding to the need by incorporating a preconception health outreach and education strategy into its program model using best practices and community input.  Founded in 2005, and hosted by USC's Arnold School of Public Health and partner organizations around the state, PASOs' mission is to help the Latino communities of South Carolina and service providers work together for strong and healthy families.  PASOs provides education, family support services, organizational capacity building and community leadership development throughout SC. 


PASOs' preconception health strategy focuses on the importance of folic acid in preventing Neural Tube Defects (NTDs), understanding reproductive anatomy and family planning methods, and accessing to health care services at the right time.  All this is done through culturally relevant messages, community outreach, health education workshops, engaging materials, community health workers (promotoras) and strategic partnerships.


One innovative way PASOs engages with the Latino community around preconception health is through its radio show, PASO a PASO, which takes place on a monthly basis in three regions of the state. Each month features a different topic that follows PASOs' educational curriculum. Health information is presented in a way that values Latino culture and celebrates strengths. The radio show takes on a personal approach as the promotoras share knowledge gained from their own experiences. Oftentimes the show features interviews with visiting experts who complement the promotoras by offering more in-depth information. Listeners are invited to share their feedback on the air and connect with PASOs for additional resources. PASOs is now releasing its first series of radionovelas, or radio dramas, that invite listeners to learn about reproductive life planning in an engaging and entertaining way. This grassroots approach provides a unique and empowering space for the voices of the community to be heard. All of these elements make PASOs' radio program a successful way to reach the Latino community with vital information about how to be healthy before, during, and after pregnancy.  Please see PASOs' website for more information about this program and other initiatives. 

Amor y Salud (Love and Health): a preconception health campaign for second-generation Latinas in Oregan   


Amor y Salud was a preconception health approach targeting second-generation Latinas in five counties in Oregon. The campaign used culturally appropriate, 12 one-minute radionovela episodes on nine radio stations, each on a preconception health topic. The campaign materials, including the episodes, were posted on social media sites. The Amor y Salud Facebook page was visited more than 11,000 times, and the episodes were played a total of 776 times. Use of a radionovela, combined with community partner involvement and social media, appears to be an effective tool for delivering preconception health messages. Click here to learn more. 

Lifting Latina Voices Initiative of the Feminist Women's Health Center in Atlanta, GA, seeks to address comprehensive reproductive and sexual health issues faced by Latinas, especially those who are low-income and uninsured. From providing basic sex education information on sexually transmitted infections, to fostering communication skills among friends, mothers, and daughters, LLVI cultivates Latina self-awareness, growth and empowerment.


LLVI provides opportunities for leadership for Latinas through the Latina Leadership Committee, educational workshops, grassroots organizing, and related projects. Through our advocacy trainings and programs, we will work to ensure that Latinas' voices are heard and counted in the policy debates that affect their lives, realities, and communities.  See LLVI's website to learn more. 

Do you work on health promotion and disease prevention for Latinas? 
Please email us - we would love to know more about your work and to connect you with the PCHHC Initiative. 
About the Newsletter  
Thanks for reading!  Is your organization doing exciting work to promote preconception health? We would love to feature you in an upcoming newsletter.  Email us for details, or if you have any questions about the newsletter.       

Sign Up for Bi-Weekly Preconception Updates to Your In-Box 

To receive a bi-weekly media and literature update on preconception and interconception health through a listserv, please email Cheryl Robbins.

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The Show Your Love (SYL) preconception campaign has checklists in Spanish to assist women in setting goals, making a health plan, and discussing their goals with a healthcare provider.  There is also a Spanish-language reproductive life planning tool available. The Every Woman California initiative has additional SYL materials in Spanish, including  videos.


The National Alliance for Hispanic Health offers  the Su Familia: National Hispanic Health Family Helpline.  The Helpline offers free reliable and confidential health information in Spanish and English. Staffed by bilingual health promotion advisors, nationwide resources and local referral services are provided, as well as culturally-proficient information and materials on a range of health topics including: Infant mortality; cancer; cardiovascular disease;  immunizations; diabetes; HIV/AIDS; hypertension;  and mental health issues.


The Oregon State Health Department has a page  completely devoted to Latina Health and information
and resources for folic acid and other preconception health Information. 

Every Woman NC's Spanish-language website contains preconception health education, tools, and messages for the general public, health care providers, and public health administrators.   


An interconception-focused family planning patient education resource, Birth Control After Baby, is now available in English and Spanish

Recent Publications

Including Latinas in preconception health research is very important. Below are two examples of recent research. Sign up for bi-weekly updates to stay connected.

Preparing for a Healthy Future Today: Folic Acid Formative Research With Young Latina Adults.
This article describes the qualitative and quantitative formative research efforts conducted to guide the development of folic acid educational messages and materials designed for young Latina adults.   

The Incidence of Depression by Fertility status in Overweight and Obese Latina Women. This study is the first of its kind to describe the propensity for depression by fertility status among overweight and obese women in an urban population of Latina women.
This e-newsletter is archived.  Find back issues of the newsletter and more information about improving preconception health and health care here.