Reproductive and Birth Outcomes
More than three million healthy babies are born annually in the United States. While most women have a normal term pregnancy and deliver a normal infant, a safe and healthy pregnancy is not experienced by all women. Certain genetic, behavioral, social and environmental factors can affect the parents’ ability to conceive, carry, and deliver a healthy, full-term baby.
The Tracking Network collects and displays data on reproductive and birth outcomes including fertility, prematurity, infant deaths (neonatal, post-neonatal, perinatal, infant deaths), low birthweight, and sex ratio. Reproductive and birth outcomes may be different across geographic areas due to access to care, level of care and a woman’s personal and behavioral characteristics, and environmental exposures. Providing these data through the Tracking Network can improve surveillance methods in order to better understand trends over time and place, and to better understand the role that environmental exposures play in reproductive and infant health problems.
Reproductive and birth outcome data on the Tracking Network are provided by CDC’s National Vital Statistics System from local and state vital statistics systems (birth, death, and fetal death records) and the U.S. Census Bureauexternal icon. The Tracking Network collects data and information on the following reproductive and birth outcome indicators:
This indicator looks at the total fertility rate (TFR). The TFR is the number of births that a hypothetical group of 1,000 women would have if they experienced throughout their childbearing years. This indicator uses age-specific birth rates, which controls for variation in birth rates due to age and difference in the average age of all women between states and counties. This indicator provides background information about how fertility varies geographically and over time. These data are available at the state and county level.
Prematurity among Singleton Births
This indicator tracks the occurrence of premature single births. This indicator can be used to identify trends and patterns in premature births. It can also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of public health actions and interventions for preventing prematurity. These data are available at the state and county level.
Low Birthweight among Singleton Births
This indicator tracks the occurrence of low birth weight (LBW) among full-term, single birth newborns. It can be used to track the perinatal health because LBW is an important predictor of perinatal morbidity and mortality. It can also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of public health actions and interventions for preventing LBW. Baseline data can be used to monitor changes or trends. These data are available at the state and county (or census tract at state level where appropriate) level. .
This indicator helps to identify populations with higher rates of infant mortality for all infants (under 1 year of age), neonates (infants younger than 28 days), perinates (infants at 28 weeks gestation to younger than 7 days old), and post-neonates (infants aged 28 days to < 1 year). These data can be used to assist with targeting outreach intervention activities. It can also be used to improve our understanding of geographic variation, time trends, and demographic patterns of infant death. These data are available at the state and county level.
This indicator can be used to monitor the proportion of males to females. Baseline data can be used to determine if the proportion of males is changing over time. These data are available at the state and county level.
Providing reproductive and birth outcome data through the Tracking Network can improve surveillance methods by creating indicators that can be linked to environmental exposure or hazard data that are not being collected by existing surveillance systems. In addition, this data can be used to:
- Inform public health prevention actions, interventions, and policy.
- Inform the public regarding risk factors requiring management or mitigation.
- Understand the geographic distribution and trends in reproductive and birth outcomes.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of existing and new prevention programs.
Read this success story to learn about the reproductive and birth outcomes related work happening in our funded Tracking Programs: