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Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS): Home

What is PRAMS?

PRAMS, the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, is a surveillance 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.

Why does PRAMS exist?

PRAMS was initiated 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 behaviors during pregnancy may influence infant birth weight and mortality rates. 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.

Why is PRAMS important?

PRAMS provides data for state health officials to use to improve the health of mothers and infants.

PRAMS allows CDC and the states to monitor changes in maternal and child health indicators (e.g., unintended pregnancy, prenatal care, breast-feeding, smoking, drinking, infant health).

PRAMS enhances information from birth certificates used to plan and review state maternal and infant health programs.

The PRAMS sample is chosen from all women who had a live birth recently, so findings can be applied to the state's entire population of women who have recently delivered a live-born infant.

PRAMS not only provides state-specific data but also allows comparisons among participating states because the same data collection methods are used in all states.

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 and local 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.

Examples of Translation of PRAMS Data

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. 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.

Prams Model Protocol 2006 Version (ZipFile* 1.77MB) | *About Zip Files

Is PRAMS data available to outside researchers?

Yes. Requests for PRAMS data from multiple states are reviewed on an individual basis by CDC and the participating PRAMS states using a standard proposal format. Please find proposal guidelines, a table listing states and years of available data for analysis, and  a list of core variables below.

Requests for PRAMS data for a single state should be directed to that state's PRAMS coordinator (see PRAMS map and click on the state of interest for contact information).

For more information about the request/proposal process, please send an inquiry to

Selected Resources

PRAMS and Postpartum Depression
Depression among mothers in the months after delivery has surfaced as an important maternal and child health concern ...more

PRAMS and Unintended Pregnancy
According to the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), 49% of pregnancies in the United States (excluding miscarriages) and 31% of pregnancies resulting in a live birth are unintended ...more

List of Publications Using Multistate PRAMS Data (DOC 61KB)

Other PRAMS fact sheets.

Go to What States Participate in PRAMS to see lists of state publications using PRAMS data


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Page last reviewed: 7/02/08
Page last modified: 7/02/08
Content source: Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

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The Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Program (MCH EPI) provides financial and technical support to states, and in some cases, time-limited assignments of senior epidemiologists to state maternal and child health programs.

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