Media Health Literacy

Health Ministery - Brasília

The Maternity Booklet - Ministry of Health

Normally, a woman goes to the SUS prenatal check-ups once a month, but doubts can take our minds at any time, right?

The Ministry of Health's Maternity Booklet is a way for the SUS to clarify the most common doubts about pregnancy at any time. On its back cover, there is information about every law that supports the rights of pregnant women. Right at the beginning, the woman finds information about pregnancy, the mother-baby relationship, breastfeeding, pregnancy taboos, tips, symptoms and all the explanations of each exam and vaccine that the woman needs during prenatal care.

The booklet's centre contains information about one’s pregnancy for the health professional. This is the first time that pregnant women keep a copy of their own medical records with them. This means that if they need to be seen in another UBS or in another hospital, the health professionals will know their prenatal records.

The second half of it is focused on how to prepare for natural labour (??), what to take to the maternity hospital, how to identify labour, and more.

Normal delivery is an experience that strengthens the relationship between a woman and her baby. The recommendations for childbirth are good practices and non-pharmacological methods of pain relief. Caesarean birth or cesarean section saves lives when indicated, but when they’re not, the woman and her baby are at greater risk.

The care for a new life, puerperium, and breastfeeding - always from the woman's perspective (since there is a Children's Booklet with information about the child). There is also a list of telephone numbers to call in case she suffers any kind of violence, whether it is domestic or obstetric.

The last page has the warning signs and weeks of pregnancy (gestational calculator). On the back cover, she finds the consultation card, a space for questions and the prenatal responsibilities of the partner. This is a very interesting element since men do not usually follow their health, so they also do several exams, measure pressure, etc.

The Maternity Booklet is also:

- Interactive, as it has many spaces for women and their partners to write their feelings,

- Integrative, because it integrates health information, the pregnant woman's card and the perinatal record,

- Informative, because it provides plenty of information about pregnancy

Four editions have already been published, with more than 8,000,000 (eight million) Maternity Booklet distributed to women under SUS, which has been adopted by most Brazilian municipalities.

This work brought me plenty of emotions because it is the Ministry of Health talking about good childbirth practices, bringing information for pregnant women to monitor pregnancy, labour and puerperium so they can make better decisions about their bodies.

In addition to the Maternity Booklet, a Health Professional's Manual, a position for childbirth poster and four posters for the health posts were also developed. This material is available for free under the terms of the Creative Commons License. It can be shared and duplicated, as the source is the Ministry of Health and the illustrations are of Bia Fioretti. Here is the link to the 2016 Maternity Booklet.

I found a video of Aline Maria, about the Pregnant Woman Booklet. She had her pregnancy accompanied by the SUS. This is a super spontaneous video, which is worth seeing. This is the greatest reward for those who created this material with great affection.

In 2013, I Bia Fioretti, was invited to join the team of the Ministry of Health - Secretariat of Health Care - Department of Strategic Programmatic Actions General Coordination of Women's Health  to develop the Maternity Booklet, the SUS prenatal care manual to support pregnancy. It took 3 years of development and agreement with the needs of eight areas of the Ministry of Health*.

This manual is directed to the pregnant woman, her partner, and the health professional (doctor or nurse).  Besides defining the content, the great challenge was to distribute the information in a way that would be easy for anyone to understand. At the centre of the Maternity Booklet is the perinatal record, which contains all the clinical information about her pregnancy, and each visit, so she can be seen by any health professional who can assess her risk. Usually, women with health insurance or private physicians have neither this information, nor their medical records.

To download the Maternity Booklet, click here


Maternity Book childbirth delivery health literacy media literacy proficiency scientific evidence knowledge translation translation of scientific knowledge

Maternity Booklet - cover
Maternity Booklet - Poster
Maternity Booklet - Poster
Delivery position - Poster
Health profesional manual