Tracking Reproductive Health in Vermont

Exposure to hazards in the physical environment — secondhand smoke, lead, mercury, air pollution, pesticides, and other toxins — may increase the likelihood of poor reproductive health outcomes. Other factors include risky behaviors, lack of access to prenatal care, smoking, alcohol and illegal drug use, poor nutrition, genetics, and pre-existing health issues.

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In 2021 nearly 83% of pregnant people in Vermont received prenatal care during the first three months of pregnancy.

Prematurity — being born too early — is the leading cause of death in the first month of life.

Explore Reproductive Health Data

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Your Questions Answered
What is reproductive health?

Reproductive health refers to the diseases, disorders and conditions that affect the functioning of the reproductive systems during reproductive age. A person’s lifestyle, habits, genetics, use of medicines and exposure to chemicals in the environment can all affect reproductive health.

How can poor reproductive health outcomes be prevented?

Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant can reduce the chance of poor reproductive outcomes by taking certain actions:

  • Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs.
  • Get medical treatment for infections and other illnesses, especially for vaginal infections.
  • Get prenatal health care early in pregnancy and follow nutritional and other advice carefully.
What is the relationship between the environment and reproductive health outcomes?

Some environmental toxins, such as mercury and lead, can pass from a mother to her unborn child. A woman eating fish high in mercury during pregnancy can harm the unborn baby’s developing nervous system. Exposure to high levels of lead during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, low birth weight, and developmental delays.

Ways to prevent exposure from environmental sources:

  • Reduce heavy or prolonged exertion when the air quality index indicates unhealthy levels of particulate matter and other air pollutants.
  • Reduce use of wood-burning stoves and fireplaces or other indoor sources of particulate matter.
  • Try to spend less time outdoors near areas with high traffic volume.
  • Avoid exposure to lead, particularly in older homes that are being renovated. Houses built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint.
  • Avoid mercury exposure. Some fish, especially albacore tuna, contain high levels of mercury.
  • Avoid using chemicals, especially pesticides and any types of insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides, miticides and fungicides. Stay away from areas recently sprayed with chemicals.  
What reproductive health outcomes are included in the Vermont Tracking Portal?

The Vermont Tracking portal provides reproductive health outcome data about:

  • Prematurity
  • Low and very low birth weight
  • Mortality
  • Fertility rate
  • Sex ratio at birth
More Information
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Environmental Chemicals and Pollutants
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