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465 Review BABY ON THE WAY: BASICS By The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Literacy Volunteers of America, and the editors of Baby Talk magazine. 48 pp. Washington, DC: ACOG, 1991. MOST of the current literature on prenatal care is written by and for persons who are comfortable with the written word. But many of the infants in this country who suffer from poor prenatal care are born to mothers who never graduated from high school or who have limited reading skills. This disparity prompted the publishers of Baby Talk, the country's oldest monthly baby magazine, to team up with The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and Literacy Volunteers of America to produce Baby on the Way: BASICS, a magazine that dispenses advice about prenatal care using accessible, easy-to-understand language. Baby on the Way: BASICS was released in November 1991, a year after the successful launch of Baby on the Way, a magazine designed to guide literate women through healthy, complication-free pregnancies. To illustrate the difference between the two, here are sample passages from the first version: The increase in progesterone levels can also cause your gums to become inflamed and bleed. This is known as pregnancy gingivitis. If the swelling is severe, permanent damage could occur, although your gums usually return to normal after you give birth. Regular brushing and flossing can prevent or lessen the severity of this gum condition. and the simplified second version: Your gums may get red and bleed. Brush and floss your teeth at least two times a day. Your gums will get better after the baby is born. The demand for the BASICS magazine, like that of its predecessor, was overwhelming. In June 1991, one month after a publicity mailing to Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) and Maternal and Child Health programs nationwide , ACOG received 1,200 orders for 175,000 copies of the magazine. Since then, the demand for Baby on the Way: BASICS has far exceeded its first-year press run of 514,000. Given the content of this magazine, and the desperate need Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, Vol. 2, No. 4, Spring 1992 466__________________________________________________________ for material prepared for low-literacy populations, the enthusiastic reception is not difficult to understand. The magazine contains articles titled "Your Pregnant Body: Head to Toe," a nutrition guide called "Eating for Two," and subsequent articles on exercise, medical checkups, medical tests during pregnancy, harmful habits, and infections . Articles on childbirth ("What Happens When Your Baby is Born") depict both regular and Cesarean deliveries. A section on what happens after delivery takes care to mention the likelihood that sometimes babies who are "very small" must go to an intensive care unit, and advises "If this happens, you might not get to see or hold your baby very much. But you should try to go to the hospital to visit your baby even if you can only see or touch your baby for a short time." Articles follow on family planning, breastfeeding, getting acquainted with the baby, a glossary ("Words Doctors Use") and furniture and other accessories to provide for the baby. The though tfulness of these presentations is illustrated by the placement on the edge of the magazine page of a truncated ruler measuring 2 Vi6 inches long—this to help the reader measure the space between the bars of a crib because "small babies can get caught or hurt themselves if the crib isn't safe." Thus Baby on the Way: BASICS highlights the most important aspects of prenatal care. The writing is simple without sounding patronizing, and the fullcolor illustrations and photographs are informative and gently upbeat. There are shortcomings, however. Although African-American women are featured in photographs, only one-quarter of the illustrations feature babies or mothers with brown skin, and four of the six men portrayed in the magazine are white. I think it is important to use blacks in such illustrations; certainly the audience for this magazine is significantly black. A greater presence of black babies and families would almost certainly help blacks feel that the magazine is directed at them and reflects them. I also question...


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