Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies

CDC’s Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies

  • Detects the effects of new health threats, like COVID-19, on pregnant people and their babies by collecting data from pregnancy through childhood
  • Uses evidence-based, actionable information to help save and improve the lives of mothers and babies

Through this effort, state, local, and territorial health departments work with CDC to identify the impact of emerging health threats to pregnant people and their babies. This approach serves as a preparedness network that can be expanded should new threats emerge for mothers and babies.

Goals and Impact: Combatting Emerging Health Threats to Help Mothers and Babies Thrive

Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies collects information on pregnant people and their children through the first 3 years of life. This system aims to figure out how health threats, such as COVID-19, hepatitis C, syphilis, and Zika, affect these populations. It may also track birth defects, developmental problems, and other disabilities as these children age. CDC scientists use these data to

  • Monitor and improve the health of pregnant people and infants;
  • Link families to medical and social services to get recommended care;
  • Strengthen laboratory and clinical testing to find emerging health threats quickly; and
  • Ensure public health is ready and prepared to meet the needs of pregnant people and infants during emergencies.

This surveillance builds upon the US Zika Pregnancy and Infant Registry. The Registry collected health information on pregnant people and their infants with laboratory evidence of Zika infection during pregnancy. A key part of this unique surveillance is the ability to find exposures during pregnancy and link them with health outcomes of pregnant people and infants. This innovative and nimble approach enables CDC and state, local, and territorial health departments to monitor exposures of concern during pregnancy and collect follow-up data on affected infants over time.

See the latest data on the impact of COVID-19 during pregnancy from a subset of participating jurisdictions.

Coordinating State, Local, Territorial, and National Collaborations

CDC currently supports 31* state, local, and territorial health departments to prepare for and respond to emerging threats to pregnant women and infants.

Jurisdictions Funded for the Surveillance of Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies and Contractual Field Staff Placement Sites, as of August 2021

Figure 1. Jurisdictions Funded for the Surveillance of Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies and Contractual Field Staff Placement Sites, as of August 2021

Text version for Figure 1

* Jurisdictions and partners are supported through either a cooperative agreement or contractual mechanism. Jurisdictional cooperative agreements are funded through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC).

Supporting Surveillance Capacity for U.S. States, Local Areas, and Territories

  • The map above shows CDC funded jurisdictions conducting surveillance of one or more of the following infectious disease threats:
    • COVID-19
    • hepatitis C
    • syphilis
    • Zika
  • CDC placed skilled contractual field staff at health departments with high burden to support local and state surveillance efforts. Field staff also do educational outreach for healthcare providers and community members and help connect families to resources.

Publications on SET-NET Methods

A Preparedness Model for Mother-Baby Linked Longitudinal Surveillance for Emerging Threatsexternal icon.
Journal of Women’s Health; January 4, 2021; 1–9
Woodworth KR, Reynolds MR, Burkel V, et al.

Publications on SET-NET Findings

Risk factors for illness severity among pregnant women with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection – Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies Network, 22 state, local, and territorial health departments, March 29, 2020 -March 5, 2021external icon
Clinical Infectious Diseases; published online ahead of print, May 22, 2021;
Galang RR, Newton SM, Woodworth KR, et al.

SARS-CoV-2 infections among neonates born to women with SARS-CoV-2 infection: maternal, pregnancy and birth characteristicsexternal icon
Research Square preprint; May 6, 2021;
Olsen EO, Roth NM, Aveni K, et al.

Birth and Infant Outcomes Following Laboratory-Confirmed SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Pregnancy — SET-NET, 16 Jurisdictions, March 29–October 14, 2020
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report; November 6, 2020; 69(44);1635–1640
Woodworth KR, Olsen EO, Neelam V, et al.