(Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System)
What is PRAMS?
The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) is a surveillance project between the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). PRAMS is a population–based survey designed to collect information on maternal behaviors and experiences before, during and after a woman's pregnancy.
The CDC initiated PRAMS in 1987 in an effort to reduce infant mortality and the incidence of low birth weight. PRAMS was first implemented in Minnesota in May of 2002.
Why is PRAMS important?
- PRAMS provides data for state health officials to use to improve the health of mothers and infants.
- PRAMS allows CDC and the states to monitor changes in maternal and child health indicators (e.g., unintended pregnancy, prenatal care, breastfeeding, smoking, drinking, and infant health).
- PRAMS enhances information from birth certificates used to plan and review state maternal and infant health programs.
- PRAMS not only provides state–specific data but also allows comparisons among participating states because the same data collection methods are used in all states.
About Minnesota PRAMS
Minnesota (PRAMS) is an important part of Minnesota Department of Health's surveillance activities to reduce infant mortality and morbidity. The goal of Minnesota PRAMS is to improve the health of mothers and infants by reducing adverse outcomes such as:
- low birth weight
- infant mortality and morbidity
- maternal morbidity
Each month, approximately 200 mothers are selected from the Minnesota Vital Statistics file of birth certificates of babies born in Minnesota during the preceding 2–4 months. Mothers must be Minnesota residents and have delivered a live–born infant. A PRAMS questionnaire is mailed to these mothers with instructions for completing and returning the information. Some surveys are completed by a telephone interview.
The PRAMS questionnaires have two parts. There are core questions asked by every state. The other questions are state–specific chosen from a standard list developed by the CDC or by states. The questions collect a mother's response to topics such as:
- Preconception health
- Pregnancy intention
- Attitudes/feelings about pregnancy
- Pregnancy-related morbidity
- Maternal alcohol/tobacco use
- Infant safe sleep
- Dental care
- Chronic health problems
- Contraceptive use
- Prenatal care
- Flu vaccine
- Mother's knowledge about pregnancy
- Maternal stressors
- Infant health care
- Postpartum depression
- Social support
State–specific information gathered through survey questionnaires will help with program and policy evaluation. PRAMS data has been used to:
- develop and implement new maternal and child health (MCH) programs
- modify existing MCH programs
- inform public health policy
- monitor trends and progress toward local, state, and national health objectives and goals such as Healthy People 2020 topics and objectives
The CDC administers the PRAMS surveillance project. PRAMS collects state–specific, population–based data on maternal attitudes and experiences before, during, and shortly after pregnancy. Forty states and New York City currently participate in PRAMS. The number of births in these states and New York City represents approximately 78% of all U.S. live births. One strength of the PRAMS surveillance system is the standardized data collection methodology. This standardized approach allows for comparisons among states and for optimal use of the data for single–state or multistate analysis.
Winnable Battles: Collecting Data in Order to Improve the Health of Mothers and Infants
The CDC embarked on an initiative to achieve measurable impact in a short time for 10 topics that are described as Winnable Battle areas. One of those topic areas is Maternal Demographics.
Minnesota Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), Minnesota Department of Health, Division of Community and Family Health, Maternal and Child Health. This data is made possible by grant number IU01DP003117–01 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.