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What is PRAMS?

PRAMS logo

PRAMS is the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. It is a joint research project between the state departments of health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Reproductive Health.


What is the purpose of PRAMS?

The purpose of PRAMS is to find out why some babies are born healthy and others are not. The survey asks new mothers questions about their pregnancy and their new baby. The questions give us important information about the mother and the baby and help us learn why some babies are born healthy and others are not.

Why is PRAMS important?

  • PRAMS provides data for state health officials to use to improve the health of mothers and infants.
  • PRAMS allows CDC and the states to monitor changes in maternal and child health indicators (e.g., unintended pregnancy, prenatal care, breastfeeding, smoking, drinking, infant health).
  • PRAMS enhances information from birth certificates used to plan and review state maternal and infant health programs.
  • The PRAMS sample is chosen from all women who had a live birth recently, so findings can be applied to the state’s entire population of women who have recently delivered a live-born infant.
  • PRAMS not only provides state-specific data but also allows comparisons among participating states because the same data collection methods are used in all states.

How are PRAMS data used?

PRAMS provides data not available from other sources about pregnancy and the first few months after birth. These data can be used to identify groups of women and infants at high risk for health problems, to monitor changes in health status, and to measure progress towards goals in improving the health of mothers and infants.

PRAMS data are used by—

  • Researchers to investigate emerging issues in the field of maternal and child health.
  • State and local governments to plan and review programs and policies aimed at reducing health problems among mothers and babies.
  • State agencies to identify other agencies that have important contributions to make in planning maternal and infant health programs and to develop partnerships with those agencies.

How can I be chosen to participate?

If you have recently given birth, your name may be picked by chance, like in a lottery, from the state birth certificate registry. If you are chosen, you will receive a survey by mail.

Will my answers be kept private?

Yes. All answers are kept private. No one will know the name of the mother who has answered the questions.

What does PRAMS do with the information?

The information collected from the mothers is used to develop health programs and policies; help doctors and nurses improve care; and make better use of health resources.

If I receive a survey, is it really important that I answer these questions?

Yes! Because of the small number of mothers picked, it is important to have everyone’s answers. Every pregnancy is different. To get a better overall picture of the health of mothers and babies, we need each mother selected to answer the questions. From the information you give us, we may be able to improve health care for women and children in your state.