The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Family Health, and Nutrition, the Title V agency in Massachusetts (MA), is continuing its Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) project activities. The goal of MA PRAMS is to provide relevant information about mothers'experiences and behaviors before, during, and shortly after pregnancy. MA has substantial information on the maternal and child health (MCH) population, but, nevertheless, gaps exist. For instance, although statistics on violence against women of childbearing age are provided by the MA Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BRFSS), PRAMS offers a unique opportunity to explore physical abuse during or around the time pregnancy, with data linked to birth outcomes. Concerning other areas of interest, reliable data are even more limited or nonexistent. For example, MA did not have population based data on postpartum depression. However, new programs have begun to address maternal depression in MA. PRAMS data were used them in the drafting of a bill "An Act Relative to Post Partum Depression." Understanding the factors that relate to mothers'depression will be critical for developing and evaluating effective screening instruments. In addition, PRAMS data supported the selection of a mental health priority for the MA five-year MCH needs assessment. Some MA state Title V performance measures related to the MCH priorities, for example, the percentage of women with a recent live birth reporting that they had their teeth cleaned recently (within one year before, during, or after pregnancy) will be included in PRAMS for the next five years. Furthermore, MA will continue to collect information on influenza vaccination during pregnancy, with the objective to provide data on seasonal and H1N1 influenza vaccine utilization among pregnant women in MA and identify barriers for not receiving vaccination. PRAMS data are also used to validate other data sources through data linkages, such as the Pregnancy to Early Life Longitudinal (PELL) data. PELL links the birth certificate (BC) to their corresponding hospital discharge (HD) data. PRAMS data have been linked to the 2007 PELL data to compare PRAMS to the HD and BC data. Analyses comparing the levels of agreement around the occurrence of pregnancy- associated morbidities from each data source have been initiated.
The mission of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) is to promote optimal health and quality of life for all people in Massachusetts by supporting the concept of healthy lives in healthy communities. The Massachusetts Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) provides data on maternal experiences and behaviors before, during and shortly after pregnancy that can be used to inform maternal and child health programs. The Massachusetts PRAMS data are used to enhance MDPH's current capacity to use data to address maternal and child health priorities and to inform policy.