WA PRAMS is a survey of new mothers conducted by Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). PRAMS gathers information from mothers about their experiences before, during, and after their most recent pregnancy. The goal of WA PRAMS is to improve the health of mothers and babies in Washington by reducing the risk of adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight and promoting best practices such as breastfeeding. PRAMS is the best routine source of this information in Washington.
Who Should Participate
Every month women who recently had a baby, are randomly selected from birth records to respond to the PRAMS survey. If selected, you will receive a survey request in the mail, with the option to complete by mail, online or by phone. The PRAMS survey gives us information about access to health care, quality of health care, and other circumstances that may affect the health of the mother and her new baby. Responses from every selected mother are needed to provide a full picture of the health of moms and babies in Washington. All information is kept confidential. Your experiences are important to us.
What Washington Mothers Say
How PRAMS Data Are Used
PRAMS provides data not available from other sources. The PRAMS survey gives us information about access to health care, quality of health care, and other circumstances that may affect the health of the mother and her new baby. The information collected is used to develop health programs and policies; help doctors and nurses improve care; and make better use of health resources.
All answers are kept private. No one will know the name of the mother who answered the questions. Because of the small number of mothers picked, it is important to have everyone’s answers. Each pregnancy is different. To get a better overall picture of the health of mothers and infants, we need each mother selected to answer the questions.
Examples of PRAMS data use can be found below:
- Maternal and Child Health Data Reports
- Perinatal Indicators Report for Washington Residents (PDF)
- Selected 2016 Through 2021 Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Indicators
PRAMS Data Collection
In Washington, about 2,000 surveys are sent to participants each year. Each month approximately 200 mothers are randomly drawn from birth records, similar to a lottery drawing. Women from some groups are sampled at a higher rate to ensure adequate data are available for smaller subpopulations. In Washington, we oversample by mother’s race and ethnicity reported on the birth certificate. Once selected, a survey is mailed to the mother along with information about completing the survey by mail, online, or with a phone interviewer.
Telephone follow-up is done for those who do not respond to the mailing. The mail and telephone surveys are available in English and Spanish.
Examples of PRAMS Survey Topics
The PRAMS questionnaire changes periodically. While many topics stay the same, new topics are added with each revision or Phase.
Phase 8 was collected from 2016-2022. PRAMS is currently collecting Phase 9. Which began in 2023.
Phase 8 Topics
- Preconception care
- Pregnancy intention
- Prenatal care
- Smoking, alcohol, and drug use
- Medical complications of pregnancy, labor, or delivery affecting the mother
- Postpartum care
- Medicaid and WIC participation
- Babies’ health and care
- Physical abuse
- Oral health
- Infant sleep environment
- Mental health and wellbeing
- Social support
New Phase 9 Topics
- Feelings on healthcare services received (respected/comfortable)
- Home visiting services
- Mental health
- Maternity leave
- Discrimination (expanded)
How Can I Get Involved?
Join the WA PRAMS Advisory Committee
Are you a maternal child health advocate? A data champion for PRAMS? A voice for the communities we serve? Or just interested in learning more about PRAMS and how you can contribute? If YES, please consider joining the Washington PRAMS Advisory Committee.
DOH is looking to rebuild the PRAMS Advisory Committee after a hiatus during COVID. Our goal is to bring together a 10–15-member multi-disciplinary advisory group that reflects the voices of community and public health professionals committed to improving the health and wellbeing of birthing people and infants in Washington. The Advisory Committee will provide input to DOH on the strategic direction and planning for the WA PRAMS survey and findings. This may include the development and selection of site-specific questions and on the use, dissemination, and application of PRAMS findings.
- Meet 1-2 times annually, with in-person and virtual attendance options
- Bring your experience, expertise and interest to the work
- Be a PRAMS data champion with your colleagues and communities
I’m Interested – What’s Next?
- By December 31, 2023: Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Please complete an Application.
- By January 15, 2024: DOH will review all applications and respond to you
- February 8, 2024, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon: Please mark your calendars with the tentative date for our first meeting.
Requesting PRAMS Data
Our standard PRAMS analytic file contains PRAMS questionnaire and birth certificate variables. We do not release PHI such as birth certificate numbers, dates of birth, or counties to protect the confidentiality of our participants. Requests may require a Data Sharing Agreement for our standard datafile or IRB approval if select PHI is requested.
Working with these data files requires use of spreadsheet, database management, or statistical software that are not provided.
- PRAMS 8 Survey Questionnaires - 2016-2022 (PDF)
- PRAMS 9 Survey Questionnaires- 2023 (PDF)
- PRAMS Phase 8 Limited Data Dictionary (XLSX)
- PRAMS Analytic Guide (PDF)
For more information on PRAMS, please see the CDC PRAMS website.
Please contact us at WAPRAMS@doh.wa.gov with any questions.