Maternal and Infant Health
Safe motherhood begins before conception with good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. It continues with appropriate prenatal care and preventing problems if they arise. The ideal result is a full-term pregnancy without unnecessary interventions, the delivery of a healthy baby, and a healthy postpartum period in a positive environment that supports the physical and emotional needs of the mother, baby, and family.
Pregnancy and childbirth have a huge impact on the physical, mental, emotional, and socioeconomic health of women and their families. Pregnancy-related health outcomes are influenced by a woman's health and other factors like race, ethnicity, age, and income. CDC's Division of Reproductive Health conducts research and supports programs to improve women health before, during, and after pregnancy to reduce both short- and long-term problems. CDC collaborates with partners to reduce the higher rates of poor outcomes experienced by some racial and ethnic groups, to improve the pregnancy and delivery experiences of all women. Our goal is to help ensure that all women have a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Tobacco Use and Pregnancy
Quitting smoking can be hard, but it is one of the best ways a woman can protect herself and her baby's health.
Problems during pregnancy may include physical and psychological conditions that negatively affect the health of the mother or the baby.
- Pregnancy-Related Deaths
The death of a woman during pregnancy, at delivery, or soon after delivery is a tragedy for her family and for society as a whole. Sadly, about 650 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications.
Many women experience depression. Trying to get pregnant, being pregnant, or the birth or loss of a baby can increase the risk for depression.
Preterm birth is the birth of a baby at least 3 weeks before the due date. Being born early is the greatest risk factor for infant death.
Perinatal Quality Collaboratives
PQCs are networks of perinatal care providers and public health professionals, working to improve pregnancy outcomes for women and newborns by advancing evidence-based clinical practices and processes.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is defined as the sudden death of a baby less than 1 year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation.
The death of a baby before his or her first birthday is called infant mortality.
- Healthy People 2020 Improving the well-being of mothers, infants, and children is an important public health goal for the United States.
- National Library of Medicine Conduct a search for more information about maternal and infant health and other health topics.
- Toward Improving the Outcome of Pregnancy III This medical resource for health care professionals explores the elements that are essential to improving quality, safety, and performance across the continuum of perinatal care.
- Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) AMCHP provides leadership on issues affecting the health of women and children. Members include directors of maternal and child health programs, directors of programs for children with special health care needs, adolescent health coordinators, and other public health leaders. Members of this national nonprofit organization also include academic, advocacy, and community-based family health professionals, and families.
- CityMatch This is a national membership organization of city and county health departments' maternal and child health (MCH) programs and leaders representing urban communities in the United States.
- Maternal Child Health (MCH) Library at Georgetown University This offers a variety of electronic resources, including the MCH Alert, knowledge paths, databases, and other materials developed for health professionals, policy makers, and families. The MCH Library is located at the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health at Georgetown University.