Maternal Health

Maternal health is the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. For many women, motherhood is a rewarding experience. For others it is a time of ill health and sometimes even death. Direct causes of maternal morbidity and mortality include hemorrhage, infection, high blood pressure, unsafe abortion, and obstructed labor. Many of these deaths can be avoided, as medical interventions are well known. Access to medical care before, during, and after childbirth is essential to the health and well being of each mother.

IDPH Announces the Launch of PrEP4Illinois, the Illinois Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Assistance Program

The Department is excited to announce the launch of a new PrEP Medication Assitance Program. Please go to or call the hotline at (800) 825-3518.

Exciting advances in HIV treatment and prevention make pregnancy a safe possibility for women living with HIV. There are ways you and your partner can prevent passing HIV to one another or to your baby. You can take important steps for you and your partner’s health, regardless of your pregnancy wishes.

Oral Health During Pregnancy

Due to hormone fluctuations during pregnancy, Oral health during pregnancy is important! Here are some key facts to know:

  • Oral health is essential to overall health in the prenatal period.
  • Oral health care during pregnancy is a shared responsibility among prenatal care health professionals, oral health professionals, and pregnant women.
  • Efforts to inform health professionals about the connection between oral health and overall health during pregnancy should focus on effectively disseminating strategies that translate evidence-based guidelines into clinical practice, with the ultimate goal of improving oral-systemic health among women and children.
  • Dentists who are knowledgeable about periodontal disease are more likely to counsel their patients who are pregnant about periodontal health. Future interventions should focus on improving the oral health knowledge of dentists and other health professionals about the importance of comprehensive oral health care, including periodontal treatment when needed, for all pregnant women.
  • For many women, treatment of oral disease during pregnancy is particularly important because dental insurance may only be available to them during pregnancy or up to 2 months postpartum.
  • Prenatal visits can be used as an opportunity to encourage pregnant women to seek preventive oral health care during pregnancy.
  • There is no indication that preventive or restorative oral health treatment during any trimester of pregnancy can harm the mother or the developing fetus. Despite this, routine oral health care is often avoided or postponed for the duration of pregnancy.
  • Women need accurate information about the importance of practicing good oral health habits throughout their lives as well as about the importance and safety of receiving oral health care during pregnancy.
  • Intensive oral hygiene regimens decrease the incidence of gingivitis among pregnant women.
  • Pregnant women with low incomes and those who are Hispanic have higher rates of tooth decay than those with higher incomes and those who are white, respectively.