Federal officials have given the state a $190,000 grant to let the Iowa Department of Public Health move forward with a program that is attempting to improve the health of moms and babies. Sarah Mauch is the coordinator of what’s called the “Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System” or PRAMS.
“We’re looking to get a better understanding of moms’ experiences before their pregnancy, during their pregnancy and their post-pregnancy experience, in particular as it pertains to the infant,” Mauch explains. The program asks mothers for information on a wide variety of issues.
“What kind of insurance did they have? Did they smoke before they were pregnant, were they able to quit when they were pregnant, did they relapse in that last trimester? We look at alcohol consumption, we look at breast feeding, infant sleep position, mental health questions…there’s over 70 questions on the survey,” according the Mauch.
Mauch says Iowa is catching up to several other states in getting more information on the health of moms and babies. “It’s a survey that’s been going on since the late 80’s and it’s currently active in 40 states,” Mauch says.
“So Iowa is a new state to this PRAMS survey, so we’re kind of jumping on to see what everybody else has been doing for the last 20 years. And maybe get a better idea of how we can help the policies and programs that would best affect moms.”
Every state does its own survey, but Mauch says there are 60 core questions that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) use for a national look at the issue.
The results are compiled from each state and researchers look for trends and issues that can be used to improve the health of the children and moms.