Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System


What is Vermont PRAMS?

Vermont PRAMS, the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, is a project of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health departments. PRAMS collects state-specific, population-based data on maternal attitudes and experiences before, during, and shortly after pregnancy. The data are collected via surveys mailed to a random sample of Vermont mothers 2-6 months after they have given birth.   Vermont PRAMS began collecting data in 2001.

Why does PRAMS exist?

PRAMS was initiated nationally in 1987 because infant mortality rates were no longer declining as rapidly as they had in prior years. In addition, the incidence of low birth weight infants had changed little in the previous 20 years. Research has indicated that maternal experiences and behaviors during pregnancy may influence infant birth weight and mortality rates. Vermont PRAMS was initiated in response to increasing low birth weight rates in the state in the late 1990’s.  The goal of the PRAMS project is to improve the health of mothers and infants by reducing adverse outcomes such as low birth weight, infant mortality and morbidity, and maternal morbidity. PRAMS provides state-specific data for planning and assessing health programs and for describing maternal experiences that may contribute to maternal and infant health.

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.

PRAMS data are used by state governments to plan and review programs and policies aimed at reducing health problems among mothers and babies.

PRAMS data are used by 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.

PRAMS Methodology

The PRAMS sample of women who have had a recent live birth is drawn from the state's birth certificate file. Each participating state samples between 1,300 and 3,400 women per year. Women from some groups are sampled at a higher rate to ensure adequate data are available in smaller but higher risk populations. Vermont PRAMS selects from Vermont resident mothers who gave birth in Vermont or New Hampshire, and over-samples women who have low birth weight (<2500g) babies. Selected women are first contacted by mail. If there is no response to repeated mailings, women are contacted and interviewed by telephone. Data collection procedures and instruments are standardized to allow comparisons between states.

For a more detailed description of the PRAMS methodology.


For information about the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, please contact:

John Gauthier
PRAMS Coordinator
Telephone: 802-863-7661

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