Survey reveals important information about pregnancy health

Sixty-four percent of Maryland mothers who completed a 2001 survey conducted by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) reported one or more medical complications during pregnancy, and 20 percent of these women were hospitalized for one or more days.
 
This and other important data are contained in a new report issued by DHMH called Maryland PRAMS Report, 2001 Births.
The 86-question survey asked randomly selected mothers who gave birth in 2001 about their health, behaviors, quality of care, and experiences in the time before, during and shortly after their pregnancies. Participants completed the survey by either mail or phone.
           
The surveys are funded by a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) program known as PRAMS (Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System).

Other key findings include:

  • Forty-two percent of all pregnancies were unintended.
  • Of mothers who were trying to get pregnant, four percent used assisted reproductive technology.
  • Seventy-eight percent of mothers began prenatal care during the first trimester (<13 weeks) of pregnancy and less than one percent received no care.  The primary reasons given for not receiving early prenatal care were difficulty in obtaining an appointment, and lack of awareness of the pregnancy.
  • Nine percent of women smoked during pregnancy and eight percent reported using alcohol.
  • Four percent of mothers reported being physically abused by a husband or partner during pregnancy.
  • Thirteen percent of newborns were admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit.
  • Seventy-six percent of infants were breastfed after delivery and 64 percent were breastfed four weeks or longer.
  • Sixty-one percent of infants were usually placed on their backs to go to sleep.
  • Twenty percent of women reported being at least moderately depressed during the postpartum period.
The report covers the responses of mothers who delivered between January 30 and December 31, 2001 and represents a 70 percent response rate for that time period. Responses before January 31 were not used since they were below the 70 percent response rate that is recommended by CDC for data analysis.
 
PRAMS, which started in 1987, is designed to obtain information that may help to prevent infant mortality and low birth weight.  Currently 31 states and New York City partner with the CDC in PRAMS.
Copies of the report are available on the Internet by clicking on the report’s name found under the ‘What’s New’ category at www.fha.state.md.us/.

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