Healthy pregnancies are essential for the well-being of mothers, infants, families and communities. Although pregnancy is an exciting time, there are stresses and risks that come with pregnancy and the postpartum period.
Maternal deaths in the United States are increasing. Approximately 700 women in the United States die every year as a result of a pregnancy or pregnancy-related complication. According to the CDC, from 2011-2015 more than one-third of pregnancy related deaths were caused by cardiovascular conditions, such as cardiomyopathy. Additionally, mental health conditions and accidental poisonings due to substance use also contribute to the number of pregnancy related deaths.
Disparities in Maternal Health
In both the United States and Pennsylvania, there are racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health and maternal mortality. In Pennsylvania specifically, African American women are three times more likely to die during or after pregnancy than white women. The gap between health outcomes for African American and white women is evidence that there is more work to be done to understand, reduce, and prevent pregnancy related deaths. To ensure that all women in Pennsylvania have healthy pregnancies, Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Health have made maternal and child health a priority.
Information for Pregnant & Postpartum Women
One way to ensure a healthy pregnancy is to know about potential complications and ways to manage any problems that come up during and after pregnancy. The resources below have information on risk factors, warning signs, and ways to protect yourself and your baby. Once you know you are pregnant, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible to begin your prenatal care.
There are health conditions that can affect women during and after pregnancy. Being aware of common conditions like high blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions helps to ensure healthy outcomes for women and newborns.
Maternal Mental Health
Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety are very common during and after pregnancy. Hormonal changes and the stress of pregnancy may trigger symptoms of mental health conditions like postpartum depression.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) for free and confidential support.
Substance Use & Pregnancy
Substance use during and after pregnancy can affect the health of both women and newborns. Call
1-800-662-HELP (4357) to find a drug and/or alcohol treatment provider or funding for addiction treatment.
Resources & Services
Helpful Phone Numbers
United Way: 2-1-1 to find local services and assistance with health, housing, and human services.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453) a 24-hour crisis hotline to offer support, information and referrals on coping with a crying baby and preventing child abuse.
PA Free Quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) for information on smoking cessation services available to Pennsylvania residents.
PA Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to find a drug and/or alcohol treatment provider or funding for addiction treatment.
PA Healthy Baby Line: 1-800-986-BABY (2229) for information on finding a doctor, getting healthcare coverage, immunizations, tests for baby, breastfeeding.
PA Department of Health: 1-877-724-3258 for information on a variety of adult, child and newborn health issues.
PA WIC: 1-800-WIC-WINS (942-9467) for information and to apply for WIC, which provides nutrition services, breastfeeding support, health care and social service referrals, and healthy foods.