For Release: October 5, 2018 - Tony Sellars, Office of Communications – 405/271-5601
“Thank you for considering our thoughts,” “I hope my answers help other mothers,” and “Thank you for the opportunity to help mothers and babies in Oklahoma!”
These are just a few of the thousands of comments from Oklahoma mothers over the years who have participated in the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) through the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH). This year PRAMS is celebrating 30 years of existence.
PRAMS is an ongoing, statewide survey that collects information about a woman’s behaviors and experiences before, during, and shortly after pregnancy. OSDH has been a participant since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began the project in 1988. Currently, PRAMS is conducted in 51 sites across 47 different states. One of the six original PRAMS states, Oklahoma is one of only three states that have participated continuously since the beginning.
“The purpose of PRAMS is to find out why some babies are born healthy and why others are not,” says Ayesha Lampkins, OSDH Project Manager. “This information is crucial to help guide programs and health policy in a time of limited resources. PRAMS also enhances efforts across the state that attempt to increase the number of Oklahoma babies who are born healthy.”
On a monthly basis, PRAMS randomly samples between 200 and 250 new mothers identified from Oklahoma birth certificates. Since this is a small percentage of all Oklahoma births, the completion and return of surveys are vital. Mothers are sent mail questionnaires with follow-up phone interviews for women who do not respond to the mailed surveys. Surveys are available in both English and Spanish. All information is kept confidential.
Wanda Thomas, OSDH PRAMS Data Manager, is also celebrating 30 years of being with the project. “There have been a lot of changes throughout my time with PRAMS,” she says. “However, the importance of finding out directly from mothers about their experiences has been a constant. We want Oklahoma mothers to have a voice about issues that affect them, their children, and their families.”