New Hampshire Division of Public Health Launches Survey to Help Reduce the State’s Infant Mortality Rate

Concord, NH - New Hampshire’s infant mortality rate was 4.0 per 1,000

births in 2009, which means that 53 babies never made it to their first

birthday that year. Soon, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human

Services (DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS), Maternal and

Child Health Section will be able to survey mothers of newborns to learn

why some babies are born healthy and some are not. New Hampshire was just

awarded a new grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

(CDC) to conduct the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS),

joining 39 other states in the country in a joint effort to improve the

health of moms and babies.

Starting in late 2012, a randomly selected group of mothers of 2- or

3-month-old babies each year will be asked to complete a confidential

questionnaire that will help public health officials and others understand

what may be causing preventable deaths or diseases among infants. More

mothers of low birth weight babies will be invited to participate because

babies weighing less than 5.5 pounds at birth have higher rates of deaths

and illnesses. Participation is completely voluntary. Survey answers will

help DPHS develop a better understanding of how health care professionals

and mothers can work together to improve birth outcomes.

“New Hampshire is fortunate to have some of the best health outcomes in the

country for mothers and babies, but we know that there are many areas where

we can do better.” said Dr. José Montero. “For example, many babies are

born too soon or too small. Information is absolutely vital to knowing how

to reduce infant mortality, lessen the number of low birth weight babies,

and improve overall birth outcomes for every baby in every area of the


The confidential information from PRAMS about such issues as safe sleeping

environments for infants and infant health and development will fill

critical data gaps and help public health officials and health care

providers better understand how to support families with issues that may or

may not be unique to New Hampshire. Because the health of the mother

directly impacts the health of the baby, mothers will be asked about their

experiences with prenatal care and whether they encountered any barriers to

good care. They will also be asked about health insurance coverage,

breastfeeding, and their experiences with the “baby blues” after their

babies were born.

For more information on the Division of Public Health Services, Maternal

and Child Health Section, please visit or for more information about the

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Pregnancy Risk Assessment

Monitoring System (PRAMS), go to