Problem/condition: Various maternal behaviors and experiences before, during, and after pregnancy (e.g., unintended pregnancy, late entry into prenatal care, cigarette smoking, not breast-feeding) are associated with adverse health outcomes for both the mother and the infant. Information regarding maternal behaviors and experiences is needed to monitor trends, to enhance the understanding of the relations between behaviors and health outcomes, to plan and evaluate programs, to direct policy decisions, and to monitor progress toward Healthy People 2000 and 2010 objectives.
Reporting period covered: This report covers data from 1993 through 1999.
Description of system: The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) is an ongoing, state- and population-based surveillance system designed to monitor selected self-reported maternal behaviors and experiences that occur before, during, and after pregnancy among women who deliver a live-born infant. PRAMS employs a mixed-mode data collection methodology; up to three self-administered surveys are mailed to a sample of mothers, and nonresponders are followed up with a telephone interview. Self-reported survey data are linked to selected birth certificate data and weighted for sample design, nonresponse, and noncoverage to create annual PRAMS analysis data sets. PRAMS generates statewide estimates of various perinatal health topics among women delivering a live infant. Data for 1999 from 17 states are examined. In addition, trend data are examined for 12 states that had at least 3 years of data during 1993-1999.
Results: In 1999, the prevalence of unintended pregnancy resulting in a live birth ranged from 33.7% to 52% across the 17 states. During 1993-1999, only one state reported a decreasing trend in the prevalence of unintended pregnancy. Women aged <20 years, black women, women with less than or equal to a high school education, and women receiving Medicaid were more likely to report unintended pregnancy. The prevalence of late or no entry into prenatal care ranged from 16.1% to 29.9%. The prevalence of late or no entry into prenatal care significantly decreased over time in seven of the 12 states with trend data. In general, women aged <20 years, black women, women with less than a high school education, and women receiving Medicaid were more likely to report late or no entry into prenatal care. The prevalence of smoking during the last 3 months of pregnancy ranged from 6.2% to 27.2%, and the prevalence decreased in five states from 1993 to 1999. Overall, smoking during the last 3 months of pregnancy was associated with younger age (<25 years), non-Hispanic ethnicity, having less than or equal to a high school education, receiving Medicaid, and delivering a low birthweight infant. The prevalence of physical abuse by a husband or partner during pregnancy ranged from 2.1% to 6.3%. No trends were observed for physical abuse from 1996 to 1999, the only years for which these data were available. Across the 17 states, only Medicaid status was consistently associated with experiencing physical abuse during pregnancy. The prevalence of breast-feeding initiation ranged from 48% to 89%. Ten of 12 states with trend data reported increases in the prevalence of breast-feeding initiation. Overall, women aged <20 years, women with less than or equal to a high school education, and women receiving Medicaid were less likely to breast-feed. The prevalence of breast-feeding duration for at least 4 weeks ranged from 34.9% to 78.1%. From 1993 to 1999, increases in levels of breast-feeding for at least 4 weeks were observed in eight states. Women aged <25 years, black women, women with less than or equal to a high school education, and women receiving Medicaid were generally less likely to breast-feed for at least 4 weeks. The prevalence of back sleep position for infants ranged from 35.1% to 74.6%. Increases in the use of the back sleep position were observed in all 12 states with trend data from 1996 to 1999. Black race and having less than or equal to a high school education were consistently associated with not using the back sleep position.
Interpretation: For surveillance during 1993-1999, the majority or all states observed increases in breast-feeding initiation, breast-feeding for at least 4 weeks, and back sleep position. Approximately one half of the states observed decreases for late or no entry into prenatal care and smoking during the last 3 months of pregnancy. Little or no progress was observed in the prevalence of unintended pregnancy or physical abuse during pregnancy. With few exceptions, the 17 states failed to meet the Healthy People 2000 objectives for the seven reported behaviors in 1999. Certain de