Problem/condition: Certain modifiable maternal behaviors and experiences before, during, and after pregnancy are associated with adverse health outcomes for the mother and her infant (e.g., physical abuse, insufficient folic acid consumption, smoking during pregnancy, and improper infant sleep position). Information about these behaviors and experiences is needed to monitor trends in maternal and infant health, enhance understanding of the relation between maternal behaviors and infant health outcomes, plan and evaluate maternal and infant health programs, direct policy decisions, and monitor progress toward achieving the national Healthy People 2010 [HP 2010] objectives (US Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy people 2010. 2nd ed. With understanding and improving health and objectives for improving health [2 vols.]. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2000).
Reporting period covered: 2000-2003.
Description of system: The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) is an ongoing, state- and population-based surveillance system designed to monitor selected maternal behaviors and experiences that occur before, during, and after pregnancy among women who deliver live-born infants. PRAMS employs a mixed mode data-collection methodology; up to three self-administered surveys are mailed to a sample of mothers; nonresponders are followed up with telephone interviews. 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 that can be used to produce statewide estimates of perinatal health behaviors and experiences among women delivering live infants. This report summarizes data for 2000-2003 from 19 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia) that measured progress toward achieving HP 2010 objectives for eight perinatal indicators: 1) pregnancy intention, 2) multivitamin use, 3) physical abuse, 4) cigarette smoking during pregnancy, 5) cigarette smoking cessation, 6) drinking alcohol during pregnancy, 7) breastfeeding initiation, and 8) infant sleep position.
Results: In 2003, prevalence of intended pregnancy among women having a live birth ranged from 48.1% in Louisiana to 66.5% in Maine; during 2000-2003, no state experienced a statistically significant (p< or =0.05) increase in prevalence of intended pregnancy, and one state experienced a significant decrease. In 2003, prevalence of multivitamin use at least four times per week during the month before pregnancy ranged from 23.0% in Arkansas to 45.2% in Maine; during 2000-2003, multivitamin use increased significantly in three states (Illinois, North Carolina, and Utah). In 2003, prevalence of physical abuse by a husband or partner during the 12 months before pregnancy ranged from 2.2% in Maine to 7.6% in New Mexico; during 2000-2003, significant decreases were recorded in three states (Alaska, Hawaii, and Nebraska). In 2003, prevalence of abstinence from cigarette smoking during the last 3 months of pregnancy ranged from 72.5% in West Virginia to 96.1% in Utah; during 2000-2003, a significant increase was recorded in Utah. In 2003, prevalence of smoking cessation during pregnancy ranged from 30.2% in West Virginia to 65.8% in Utah; during 2000-2003, a significant increase was recorded in Utah. In 2003, prevalence of abstinence from alcohol during the last 3 months of pregnancy ranged from 91.3% in Colorado to 98.0% in Utah; during 2000-2003, abstinence increased significantly in Louisiana and Utah but decreased significantly in Florida and Nebraska. In 2003, prevalence of mothers who breastfed their babies in the early postpartum period ranged from 51.2% in Louisiana to 90.3% in Alaska; during 2000-2003, significant increases were recorded in six states (Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, and South Carolina). In 2003, prevalence of healthy full-term infants who were placed to sleep on their backs ranged from 50.0% in Arkansas to 78.7% in Washington; during 2000-2003, significant increases were recorded in eight states (Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, North Carolina, and West Virginia). In 2003, all 19 states achieved or exceeded the HP 2010 objective for smoking cessation during pregnancy, and 16 states achieved the HP 2010 objective for abstinence from alcohol during the last 3 months of pregnancy. In addition, nearly half of the states achieved the objectives for breastfeeding in the early postpartum period and infant back sleep position. However, no state achieved the HP 2010 objectives for intended pregnancy, multivitamin use before pregnancy, absence of physical abuse before pregnancy, or abstinence from smoking during pregnancy.
Interpretation: PRAMS data indicate variability among states regarding progress toward achieving HP 2010 objectives in the area of maternal and child health. More progress has been made in achieving objectives focused on the period during and after pregnancy (e.g., smoking cessation and proper infant sleep position); less progress has been made in achieving objectives related to behaviors and experiences in the preconception period (e.g., pregnancy intention and multivitamin use).
Public health action: State maternal and child health programs can use these state- and population-based data to monitor progress toward achieving HP 2010 objectives, identify indicators to target for intervention, and plan and evaluate programs that promote positive maternal and infant health behaviors, experiences, and outcomes. These data also can be used to guide policy decisions that could affect the health of mothers and infants.