1970s: CDC/ATSDR Contributions to Women’s Health

Below is a sample of contributions CDC and ATSDR have made in women’s health during the 1970s.


Funded the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology to develop Guidelines on Pregnancy and Work. This document was designed to help the practicing obstetrician assemble and interpret the information necessary for appropriate clinical recommendations to pregnant workers.

Began the Pregnancy Nutrition Surveillance System (PNSS) that monitors behavioral and nutritional risk factors among low-income pregnant women participating in public health programs.


Began the Collaborative Review of Sterilization (CREST) study with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to evaluate the safety and efficacy of tubal sterilization. The study was the largest and longest prospective study of women undergoing tubal sterilization.


Began providing technical assistance on reproductive health population-based surveys for the United States Agency for International Development, Ministries of Health, international donor organizations, and nongovernmental organizations to assess program needs and monitor program performance and impact over time. Reproductive health surveys have been completed in Latin America, the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, and the Middle East. CDC trains its host counterparts in all aspects of survey implementation.


Reported that users of the Dalkon Shield, an intrauterine device (IUD) then on the market, showed an excess risk for complicated pregnancies when compared to users of other IUDs.


Added a nutrition surveillance component to the then newly renamed National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The first of these surveys targeted the civilian non-institutionalized population 1-74 years of age. A second wave of this survey was conducted in 1976-80.

Established the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The first national NSFG surveys were conducted in 1973 and 1976 in order to provide reliable national data on contraception, infertility, marriage, and other factors affecting childbearing and maternal and infant health. NCHS and others published reports on contraception, fertility, and other topics from the data.

Page last reviewed: October 31, 2013
Content source: Women's Health