Maternal and Child Health

To Combat the Childhood Obesity Epidemic, States and Territories Leverage School Nutrition and Physical Activity Policies

November 01, 2018|4:43 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Earlier this month, ASTHO released “Preventing Childhood Obesity Through Healthy Communities,” a new episode in its Public Health Review podcast series. The episode, featuring leaders from CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity and the Tennessee Department of Health, highlights the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic and discusses ways to reduce climbing obesity rates by increasing access to healthy foods and promoting physical activity. Read More »

Rhode Island Coordinates Statewide Efforts to Address Lead Exposure in Maternal and Child Health Populations

October 11, 2018|10:48 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Oct. 11 is Children’s Environmental Health Day, a day to raise awareness around children’s health issues, share successes and new initiatives, and discuss ongoing challenges. Children continue to face high rates of chronic diseases and developmental disabilities linked to environmental exposures. One of the harmful environmental exposures that state health agencies have prioritized is lead. Read More »

Why Medicaid is Important to Advance Maternal Health in the United States

September 13, 2018|9:39 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country in the world and the rate is climbing higher each year. On average, between 700 and 900 American women die each year (and 65,000 nearly die) from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. Moreover, there are pronounced racial and geographic disparities in the U.S. maternal mortality rate. Black women die from pregnancy-related causes at three to four times the rate of white women, even after controlling for socioeconomic factors. Women in rural areas also have higher maternal mortality rates than those of their urban counterparts. Read More »

State Policy Approaches to Incorporating Doula Services into Maternal Care

August 09, 2018|3:59 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Maternal mortality rates in the United States continue to rise, with ethnic and racial minority populations facing even starker statistics. Policymakers are pursuing a variety of approaches to improve perinatal and postnatal care to support healthy and safe pregnancies, including expanding access to doula services. A doula is a trained professional that provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support during and shortly after childbirth. Through this continuous support system, doulas positively impact both mothers and babies, as well as help families achieve a healthy and positive birthing experience. For women at-risk for adverse birth outcomes because of racial disparities, doula care can provide positive benefits and improve factors that mediate mortality, including decreasing cesarean births, operative vaginal births, use of analgesics, and duration of labor. Read More »

Innovative Approaches to Treating Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

July 31, 2018|11:43 p.m.| Community Health and Prevention Team

The incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) has increased dramatically over the past decade, placing a significant burden on the healthcare system in terms of the costs associated with extended hospital stays required to care for these newborns. In 2012, annual costs related to NAS admissions in the United States totaled $316 million. Many types of drugs or substances contribute to the severity of an infant’s withdrawal symptoms, but in-utero exposure to opioids is often considered the primary cause of NAS, also referred to as neonatal opioid withdrawal symptom (NOWS). Providing active neonatal care through nonpharmacologic interventions allows for parental bonding, promotes consistent breastfeeding, and results in improved outcomes, such as decreased length of stay, and reduced hospital costs. Read More »

Evidence-Based Home Visiting Models Promote Early Brain Development in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities

July 26, 2018|11:35 a.m.| Community Health and Prevention Team

A child’s earliest experiences influence the brain’s developing architecture. Exposure to adversity during the early years can lead to long-term, negative outcomes later in life. Nurturing environments and strong caregiver-child relationships can buffer the consequences of poor early brain development stemming from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress. Home visiting programs promote early childhood health and development by fostering these positive, interactive relationships which can go a long way toward both preventing child abuse and neglect and supporting early learning and school readiness. Although genetics and the environment are factors in determining a child’s health and developmental outcomes, strengthening the capacity of parents and caregivers to provide appropriate care and support is fundamental to helping children thrive and achieve lifelong health and wellness. Read More »

State Public Health Strategies for Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences

July 12, 2018|3:43 p.m.| Community Health and Prevention Team

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are stressful or traumatic events during childhood where continual exposure to stressors in the absence of nurturing relationships, known as toxic stress, can damage a child’s developing brain. For this reason, ACEs are a major risk factor for poor early brain development. ACEs not only contribute to suboptimal brain development in children, but they also have lasting effects on overall health and are linked to causes of morbidity and mortality in adults. Read More »

D.C. Director of Health's New Plan to Champion Maternal and Child Health

May 24, 2018|11:52 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

On April 18, the District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health) released the “Perinatal Health and Infant Mortality Report,” a comprehensive plan to improve the health and well-being of mothers and babies in Washington, D.C. Earlier this month, as part of National Women’s Health Week, ASTHO spoke with LaQuandra Nesbitt, MD, MPH, director of DC Health, about the District’s approach to perinatal health, collaboration with community health centers, and opportunities to address disparities in maternal and child health outcomes. Read More »

State Legislation in 2018 to Improve Maternal and Child Health Outcomes

April 26, 2018|10:23 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Birth outcomes in the United States for both mothers and infants lag behind the rest of the industrial world, with significant disparities in outcomes across ethnic, racial, and socio-economic groups. Public health policies may offer key tools to improve the health and health outcomes for mothers and infants. Recently, lawmakers in Florida, Indiana, and Georgia advanced legislation to improve health outcomes for women, infants, and families, including supporting maternal mental health resources and services and strengthening perinatal regionalization efforts. Read More »

Keys to Addressing Maternal Mortality at the State Level: Consistency, Collaboration, and Data

December 12, 2017|5:25 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Despite an overall worldwide decline of 44 percent since 1990, pregnancy-related deaths have increased steadily in the United States. CDC estimates that over 700 women die each year due to pregnancy or delivery complications. The rate of severe maternal morbidity (SMM), an unexpected outcome to labor and delivery that results in significant short or long term consequences to a woman’s health, increased nearly 200 percent from 1994 to 2014. To address the increase in maternal mortality, states are focusing efforts on increasing consistency in care, fostering coordination and collaboration, and improving data systems. Fourteen states and CNMI are implementing maternal safety bundles through enrollment in the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM). Thirty-three states have established maternal mortality review processes and several states have developed policies and practices intended to reduce to maternal morbidity and mortality. ASTHO affirms that reducing preventable maternal morbidity and mortality will improve both maternal and infant health outcomes and is crucial for the promotion of health. Read More »

State Legislation Focuses on Contraceptive Access

March 09, 2017|3:29 p.m.| KT Kramer

ASTHO is currently tracking a variety of state legislation that expands access to contraceptives through insurance coverage requirements, allows pharmacists to dispense contraceptives, and supports the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives methods. Read More »

Social Determinants of Health and Infant Mortality: Cross-Cutting Actions

October 28, 2016|1:25 p.m.| Alethia Carr and Kay Johnson

Each day this week, ASTHO’s blog will take a look at a set of strategies developed by the Social Determinants of Health Learning Network as part of the nationwide Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN). Today, the topic is cross-cutting policies and program as described in the WHO framework for tackling social determinants of health. Read More »

Social Determinants of Health and Infant Mortality: Policies to Reduce Unequal Consequences in Social, Economic, and Health Terms as a Result of Illness

October 27, 2016|4:05 p.m.| Alethia Carr and Kay Johnson

Each day this week, ASTHO’s blog will take a look at a set of strategies developed by the Social Determinants of Health Learning Network as part of the nationwide Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN). Today, the topic is policies that reduce unequal consequences as a result of an illness. Read More »

Social Determinants of Health and Infant Mortality: Policies to Reduce Vulnerability and Increase Resiliency of Disadvantaged People

October 26, 2016|2:12 p.m.| Alethia Carr and Kay Johnson

Each day this week, ASTHO’s blog will take a look at a set of strategies developed by the Social Determinants of Health Learning Network as part of the nationwide Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN). Today, the topic is policies that reduce vulnerability and increase resiliency. Read More »

Social Determinants of Health and Infant Mortality: Policies and Programs to Reduce Exposures of Disadvantaged People to Health Damaging Factors

October 25, 2016|2:08 p.m.| Alethia Carr and Kay Johnson

Each day this week, ASTHO’s blog will take a look at a set of strategies developed by the Social Determinants of Health Learning Network as part of the nationwide Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN). Today, the topic is policies and programs that reduce the exposure of disadvantaged people to factors that can have a lasting, damaging effect on health. Read More »

Social Determinants of Health and Infant Mortality: Policies and Programs on Social Stratification to Reduce Inequalities

October 24, 2016|1:13 p.m.| Alethia Carr and Kay Johnson

Each day this week, ASTHO’s blog will take a look at a set of strategies developed by the Social Determinants of Health Learning Network as part of the nationwide Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN). Today, the topic is policies and programs that address social stratification and reduce inequalities. Read More »

Social Determinants of Health Learning Network: Innovation to Advance 20 Core Strategies

October 24, 2016|12:33 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

This week we're running a series of blog posts on 20 strategies intended to help states implement innovative, evidence-based policies and programs to improve social determinants of health and equity in birth outcomes in the U.S. Read More »

Infant Mortality Linked to Lack of Preconception and Interconception Care

August 15, 2016|3:45 p.m.| Eighmey Zeeck

ASTHO and partners are working to help states create solutions to improve pre- and interconception care in order to reduce both infant and maternal mortality rates. Read More »

U.S. Sees Continued Rise in Maternal Mortality

May 10, 2016|1:10 p.m.| Eighmey Zeeck

The United States has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality of any industrialized country, and the numbers have increased over time. Read More »

CDC Initiative Highlights Importance of Vaccines for Infants and Children

April 07, 2016|3:46 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

National Infant Immunization Week is an annual initiative in April that highlights the importance of protecting infants from preventable diseases. This year it takes place April 16-23. Read More »

Georgia’s “Talk With Me Baby” Program Aims to Improve Low-Income Toddlers’ Verbal and Reading Skills

March 25, 2016|2:23 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Georgia’s initiative encourages parents and caregivers to talk, read, and sing to their infants and toddlers. Read More »

American College of Nurse Midwives and ASTHO Collaborate to Improve Health

January 12, 2016|10:54 a.m.| Eileen Beard and Carol Hayes

ACNM has been working with ASTHO and other health professional organizations to improve immunizations rates in vulnerable populations, including racial/ethnic groups and pregnant women. Read More »

Increasing State Health Agency Capacity to Improve 17P Utilization

December 28, 2015|10:44 a.m.| Claire Rudolph

Women who have experienced a preterm birth are eligible for a progesterone medication called 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate, or 17P, which has been shown to prevent the recurrence of preterm birth by 33 percent. Read More »

Study: Safe Sleep One of Several Elements in SIDS Prevention

December 18, 2015|5:04 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

A recent study concludes that other factors in addition to safe infant sleep practices have contributed to the decline in infant deaths since 1990. Read More »

March of Dimes Announces Premature Birth Report Card Findings

November 09, 2015|2:35 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

The United States’ 2014 preterm birth rate was 9.6 percent, down from 11.4 percent the previous year. Read More »

States Collaborate to Reduce Infant Mortality

October 27, 2015|2:05 p.m.| Claire Rudolph

The infant mortality rate in the United States is one of the highest among all developed countries, at approximately six infant deaths per 1,000 live births annually. Read More »

Louisiana Expands Access to 17P Progesterone Injections for At Risk Pregnant Women

September 04, 2015|12:14 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Louisiana merged its vital records with Medicaid data and created a Medicaid pay-for-performance measure to encourage plans to increase the number of women who are able to access 17P. Read More »

Nebraska Safe Driving Campaign Aims at Parents of Teen Drivers

August 13, 2015|11:29 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

With its “Driving the Right Message” campaign, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services wants to educate parents about the important role they play in keeping their teen safe at the wheel. Read More »

States Highlight Importance of Breastfeeding During World Breastfeeding Week

August 07, 2015|4:12 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7, health departments across the nation are raising awareness about breastfeeding and have developed policies that promote breastfeeding-friendly work environments. Read More »

Missouri Expands Newborn Screening Network with Sunday Pickup and Eight New Sites

July 23, 2015|11:08 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is strengthening its newborn screening program. Read More »

Poverty Hurts Kids’ Brain Development and Grades, Study of MRI Scans Shows

July 21, 2015|2:49 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

A recent study has found that children who live below the poverty line have 7 percent to 10 percent less gray matter volume than normal in their frontal and temporal lobes—parts of the brain that are responsible for learning functions. Read More »

Hawaii Raises Smoking Age to 21

June 24, 2015|1:43 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Already a leader in decreasing tobacco use, Hawaii becomes first state to increase the smoking age to 21, a step the IOM reports will likely have a significant impact on public health. Read More »

Educating Healthcare Workers on IUDs, Implants Halves Unintended Pregnancies, Study Finds

June 19, 2015|11:25 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Many public health experts now say that long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) is a top way to prevent unintended pregnancy. Read More »

Massachusetts Increases Influenza Vaccinations Among Pregnant Women During H1N1

May 28, 2015|10:22 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

After observing significantly higher hospitalization rates among pregnant women during H1N1, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health partnered with the Massachusetts chapter of the American College of Obstetrician Gynecologists to increase influenza vaccinations. Read More »

NIH Study Supports Assertion that Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism

April 21, 2015|5:49 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

A recent study maintains the longstanding claim that there is no link between childhood immunizations and autism. Read More »

Paid Sick Leave Contributes to Health of Workers and Their Families

March 25, 2015|4:24 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

A white paper from the Minnesota Department of Health finds that workers who receive paid sick and family leave are healthier, and so are their families and the public they serve. Read More »

Report: Many Poison Control Calls Result from Children Improperly Taking Medication

March 20, 2015|2:18 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

A new study reviews poison control center call data and explains how families can protect their children against medication overdose and improper ingestion. Read More »

Alabama Program Uses Multi-Pronged Approach to Increase Uptake of HPV Vaccine

March 06, 2015|9:41 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. and can lead to cervical and other cancers. Alabama worked to increase the number of young people immunized against it with a program that included many different kinds of outreach and approaches. Read More »

Arizona Targets Teen Tobacco Use with Comedy and Online Video

February 09, 2015|9:27 a.m.| John Skendall

Arizona’s health department has upped the ante on its anti-tobacco messaging to teens. Read More »

Kansas’ Immunize and Win a Prize Program Promotes Childhood Vaccinations

February 02, 2015|5:13 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Kansas' innovative incentive program has increased immunizations in young children. Read More »

LARC Now Considered a Top Method to Prevent Unintended Pregnancy

December 19, 2014|3:30 p.m.| Kristen Lewandowski

Long-acting reversible contraception is a highly regarded birth control method due to its efficacy, low long-term cost, and potential to improve health outcomes for women and children. Read More »

Almost Half of U.S. Kids Experience Childhood Trauma with Potential for Long-Term Health Repercussions

December 12, 2014|12:12 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Nearly half of U.S. kids have experienced at least one traumatic event that may impede their healthy development, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers report. Read More »

Rates of Violence Against Women Remain High Worldwide

November 25, 2014|10:11 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Rates of violence against women remain unacceptably high around the world, according to a new series “Violence Against Women and Girls,” published by The Lancet. Read More »

Alaska Uses Health Education Curriculum to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships

November 12, 2014|2:07 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has been using the Fourth R health education curriculum to promote healthy teen relationships and prevent disease in the state. Read More »

March of Dimes Releases Annual Premature Birth Report Card

November 06, 2014|12:02 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

The March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card compares each state’s preterm birth rate to the March of Dimes goal of 9.6 percent of all live births by 2020. Read More »

Youth E-Cigarette Use Prompts Health Concerns, New Policies in Guam

October 28, 2014|12:19 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Facing rising levels of e-cigarette use, the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services worked with partners limit access at the department and prohibit sales to minors. Read More »

Hawaii Wellness Standards Promote Health in Schools

October 23, 2014|11:33 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

To improve the health of young people, Hawaii has made a commitment to strongly support healthy environments in its public schools. Read More »

Oklahoma Partnership Sets Sights on Ensuring Safe Sleep Practices

October 10, 2014|10:15 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Sometimes, a great partnership opportunity is sitting right there next to you, all you have to do is figure out how to make it work. Read More »