Maternal & Child Health
Did You Know? is a weekly feature from the Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support to inform your prevention activities. We invite you to read, share, and take action!
View the Current Did You Know?
January 12, 2018
- There are about 3,500 sleep-related deaths among US babies each year.
- Although safe sleep practices—like placing babies on their back to sleep—can reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths, unsafe sleep practices are still common, according to the latest Vital Signs report.
- State and local health departments can promote safe sleep recommendations by conducting communication campaigns, training care providers in hospitals and childcare centers, and working with programs that serve mothers and babies.
April 21, 2017
- Vaccination of children born during 1994–2013 will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.
- Following the recommended childhood immunization schedule protects babies and children by providing immunity early in life.
- Healthcare providers and public health professionals can educate patients about the importance of vaccination and staying on schedule using easy-to-read resources recommended by CDC.
October 9, 2015
- Hospital practices in the first hours and days after birth can influence how babies are fed, according to the latest CDC Vital Signs.
- In 2013, 54% of hospitals were using a majority of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding—up from only 29% in 2007.
- Hospitals can further improve their practices to support breastfeeding by taking recommended steps to become Baby-Friendly.
April 3, 2015
- Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a very contagious disease that can cause babies to stop breathing—here’s what you need to know about preventing it.
- Infants are at greatest risk for getting whooping cough, so pregnant women should get vaccinated in the third trimester of each pregnancy.
- Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals can use CDC’s many educational resources to teach parents about vaccines for whooping cough and other childhood diseases.
May 2, 2014
- Nearly 9 out of 10 pregnant women in the United States take at least one medication.
- Because pregnant women are often excluded from medication studies, there is limited information about medication safety during pregnancy. Only 9% of medications have enough information to determine their risk to the baby, making treatment decisions difficult.
- CDC’s prescription for this problem—Treating for Two—is a national strategy to improve the health of mothers and babies through safer medication use in pregnancy.
April 4, 2014
- Babies are born with very little vitamin K in their bodies, which can cause serious bleeding problemsthat can lead to brain damage and even death.
- Life-threatening bleeds from VKDB frequently occur without warning, but a single vitamin K shot [PDF – 247KB] given at birth will protect a baby from developing dangerous bleeding.
- You can help expectant parents learn how to protect their babies from VKDB by listening to this CDC podcast.
November 22, 2013
- CDC’s Winnable Battles Progress Report, 2010–2015 [PDF-785KB] describes the progress being made in addressing these critical public health challenges.
- CDC and partners are on track to decrease teen birth rates by 20% [PDF-420KB], reduce motor vehicle crash fatalities by 31% [PDF-453KB], and reduce certain healthcare-associated infections in hospitals by 60% [PDF-178KB] by the 2015 target date.
- Identifying and focusing on Winnable Battles has helped promote progress. CDC will continue to work closely with partners at the national, state, and local levels to achieve Winnable Battle targets.
November 15, 2013
- Colorectal cancer screening tests save lives by finding precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best. Screening is recommended for men and women aged 50–75 years.
- Several types of tests are used to screen for colorectal cancer. Ask your doctor [PDF-178KB] which test is right for you.
- The 25 states and 4 tribes in CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program provide screening services to underinsured low-income men and women aged 50–64 years.
November 1, 2013
- Each year, preterm birth affects nearly 500,000 babies—that’s 1 of every 8 infants born in the United States.
- Preterm birth costs the U.S. health care system more than $26 billion each year. CDC is working to better understand why preterm births occur and what can be done to prevent them.
- CDC scientists are collaborating with perinatal care providers and public health professionals to improve pregnancy outcomes for women and newborns.
October 18, 2013
- Obstetric and neonatal healthcare providers can quickly access patient-specific guidance on managing group B Streptococcus (strep) infections with a new CDC mobile app.
- Group B strep can cause pneumonia, blood infections, and meningitis and is one of the most common causes of infectious illness and death for US newborns in the first week of life.
- You can download the free app from the CDC iTunes App Store or access a web version on your computer.
September 27, 2013
- Each year, about 4,000 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly without an obvious cause of death.
- Improved national reporting and understanding of unexplained infant deaths can inform prevention strategies.
- Nine states now conduct enhanced child death reviews and participate in CDC’s Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Case Registry.
August 9, 2013
- Obesity rates among low-income preschool children declined slightly from 2008 through 2011 in 19 of 43 states and US territories studied.
- Children who are overweight or obese as preschoolers are 5 times as likely as normal-weight children to be overweight or obese as adults.
- State and local officials can use recommended strategies [PDF-2.6MB] to help drive down rates of childhood obesity in their communities.
July 19, 2013
- For 25 years, CDC’s Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) has been providing state-specific data about the health of women before, during, and after pregnancy.
- Forty states and New York City now participate in PRAMS, representing about 78% of all US live births.
- States are using PRAMS data to improve mother and child health, supporting initiatives to help women start and continue breastfeeding.
April 19, 2013
- Thanks to vaccines, many diseases that once killed thousands of US children have been eliminated or are near extinction—one of the 10 greatest achievements in public health.
- While immunization rates for children remain at or near record highs, recent outbreaks of measles and pertussis show the importance of keeping immunization rates high.
- New public service announcements, animated videos, and print ads are available to download and share during National Infant Immunization Week (April 20–27) and year-round.
April 5, 2013
- Nearly 1 in 5 teen births are repeat births. Of approximately 365,000 teen births in 2010, 66,800 were repeat births.
- Repeat teen births can severely limit a mother’s ability to finish her education or get a job and carry substantial health, emotional, social, and financial costs for teen mothers and their children.
- CDC provides guidelines for healthcare professionals to counsel sexually active teens on the most effective types of birth control and resources for parents to talk to their teens about preventing repeat pregnancies.
January 18, 2013
- One in 33 babies in the United States is born with a major birth defect.
- Adopting healthy behaviors before and during pregnancy, such as consuming folic acid daily, can reduce the risk for birth defects.
- Educational materials can promote awareness of birth defects, especially during National Birth Defects Prevention Month in January.
January 4, 2013
- Taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy can help prevent many neural tube defects (major birth defects of a baby’s brain and spine).
- In the US, neural tube defects affect 3,000 pregnancies every year, with higher rates among Hispanic women.
- CDC has folic acid resources in English and Spanish for use during National Folic Acid Awareness Week in January and all through the year.
April 12, 2013
- Smoking-related illness in the United States costs $96 billion in medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity each year.
- CDC is building on the success of the Tips From Former Smokers campaign with a new round of advertisements in April 2013. The ads will continue to raise awareness of the negative health effects of smoking, including secondhand smoke.
- You can use Tips resources—including stories from smokers, content for specific groups, matte articles, and more—to promote the campaign and encourage smokers to quit.
February 3, 2012
- Every 15 minutes a baby is born with a congenital heart defect.
- Congenital heart defects are a leading cause of infant death and can result in lifelong disability.
- Reducing obesity, controlling diabetes, and preventing tobacco exposure [PDF-189KB] before and during pregnancy are actions that may help prevent congenital heart defects.
December 16, 2011
- The Environmental Public Health Tracking Network’s improved data query system makes it easier to view environmental and health data for counties and states.
- The Tracking Network now includes climate and health data related to heat events and community design content.
- Public health professionals can use Tracking Network data to identify health trends, develop interventions, and address local environmental public health concerns.
September 16, 2011
- Prematurity is the leading cause of death among newborn babies in the United States.
- You can play an important role in improving national reporting of sudden unexpected infant deaths.
- PeriStats allows you to create maps and graphs while accessing national, state, and county-level infant health data.
May 13, 2011
April 22, 2011
- National Infant Immunization Week, April 23 – 30, celebrates the success of childhood vaccinations and promotes on time infant immunization.
- Routine childhood immunizations save 42,000 lives, prevent 20 million cases of disease, and save $13.6 billion in medical costs for each U.S. birth cohort.
- Education materials are available to help health care professionals talk with parents about immunizations.
April 8, 2011
- More than 400,000 teenagers aged 15 to 19 years give birth each year in the United States.
- CDC supports innovative domestic research to prevent unintended teen pregnancy.
- CDC also addresses disparities in teen pregnancy and birth rates as part of the President’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative.
February 11, 2011
- Text4baby is a tool that provides health reminders and tips for pregnant women and new moms.
- The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition aims to connect one million pregnant women and new mothers with text4baby by 2012.
- The National Women’s Health Information Center provides evidence-informed strategies to improve maternal and infant health.
January 28, 2011
- Birth defects affect about one in every 33 babies born in the United States each year.
- CDC urges women to take 400 mcg of folic acid every day (from fortified foods, supplements, or both) to help prevent major birth defects.
- The Guide to Community Preventive Services recommends community-wide education campaigns to promote the use of folic acid to help prevent birth defects.
January 21, 2011
- The Surgeon General released the first call to action to support breastfeeding on January 20, 2011.
- Both babies and mothers gain many benefits from breastfeeding.
- The CDC Guide to Breastfeeding Interventions provides guidance in selecting evidence-based and promising breastfeeding promotion and support activities.
January 14, 2011
- CDC released the CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report – United States, 2011 on January 13, 2011.
- A key social determinant of health, early learning opportunities create a critical foundation for children’s academic success, health, and well-being, yet not all children are benefiting equally.
- The Guide to Community Preventive Services has evidence-based recommendations for promoting health through early childhood development programs.
Did You Know? information and web links are current as of their publication date. They may become outdated over time.
- Page last reviewed: April 20, 2017
- Page last updated: January 12, 2018
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