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This patient education material was funded by the Sunnybrook Patient and Family Education Print Grant 2016-2017.

We would like to acknowledge the following teams for all their support in this initiative:

The Sunnybrook Digital and Visual Communications Team and Sunnybrook Patient and Family Education Team for their support in developing and designing the postcard;

The Sunnybrook Department of Community and Family Medicine / Family Medicine Obstetrics for their input in the content of the postcard;

The Maternal and Newborn Unit, Sunnybrook Women and Babies and Sunnybrook Family Medicine Residents for their support in disseminating and evaluating this pilot project.

Posted: March 1, 2018    Format: PDF
Patient Education Postcard: What do women need to know and share about their pregnancy? 

By: ,


Category(s): Cardiovascular, Maternal Care, Patient Education, Social Determinants of Health


Pregnancy complications (including hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, gestational diabetes, placental abruption, preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction) are associated with early onset of cardiovascular disease in women. Pregnancy care in Ontario is most often provided by obstetricians and midwives in Ontario with less than 10% of births being attended by family physicians.

Due to transitions in care between community and inpatient care, family physicians are often unaware of their patients’ pregnancy history. One opportunity to improve information flow is to educate women on the impact of pregnancy history to their future health. Educating women on pregnancy and future health may encourage discussion of pregnancy history with their primary care providers; thus, helping women and their primary care providers identify and manage modifiable risk factors (i.e. diet and physical activity, smoking and alcohol intake) known to decrease future cardiovascular disease.

To do this, we developed an eye-catching postcard containing targeted information on pregnancy history and future health that women could easily recognize and pass to their primary care provider. The postcard also includes a link to online recourses hosted on the Sunnybrook Women and Babies website.

The objective of this initiative is to increase information flow between women, their obstetrical care provider and their primary care provider.

The aim of the postcard is to:

  1. Educate women about the implications of their pregnancy history on their future health
  2. Empower women to take charge of their future health by educating them on the impact of their pregnancy to their future health
  3. Provide the opportunity for women and their primary care providers to work together for optimal long-term cardiovascular health

The postcard is currently included in all pregnancy discharge packages provided to women who have delivered at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. We are evaluating the postcard via a survey to Family Medicine Obstetrics patients post-delivery, to determine the efficacy and benefit of this postcard. Pilot data suggests that 80% of the patients at discharge believed this postcard helped them understand more about their future health after pregnancy and would pass this postcard to their family doctor.

This postcard can be used in the following ways:

Patient education material: this postcard can be distributed to patients at pregnancy discharge, at 6-week postpartum visit, in clinic / hospital waiting rooms

Primary Care Tool: Primary care providers and obstetrical care providers can use this postcard to collect information on pregnancy history and provide tips on managing modifiable cardiovascular risk factors.