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Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System

The Illinois Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) is an ongoing population-based survey of women who have recently delivered a live born infant in Illinois. PRAMS, located in the Illinois Center for Health Statistics, is an important part of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s surveillance activities and is part of a national initiative by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce infant morbidity and mortality. PRAMS collects information from mothers about their behaviors and experiences before, during and immediately after pregnancy. The unique information collected by the PRAMS program is used by health professionals, administrators, policy makers, and researchers to develop and to modify programs and policies to improve the health of women and children in Illinois. Currently, 40 states and New York City participate in PRAMS nationwide, representing about 78 percent of all U.S. births. For more information about the CDC PRAMS project visit the national PRAMS website (see Resources).

What subject matter does PRAMS cover?

The PRAMS questionnaire consists of a core set of questions asked by all PRAMS participating states, as well as state specific questions chosen by each state. About every four years, the survey undergoes a major revision process or phase. For specific content of Illinois surveys by year, see Illinois PRAMS Questionnaires. For specific content of the core component, see the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website (see Resources). Topic areas currently covered by PRAMS include:

  • Preconception health
  • Pregnancy intention
  • Prenatal care content and barriers to prenatal care
  • Folic acid awareness
  • Physical abuse before and during pregnancy
  • Risk factors, including selected medical conditions and major life stressors
  • Alcohol and tobacco use before and during pregnancy
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Infant health and care, including well baby visits, insurance coverage, sleep position
  • HIV testing
  • Flu and Tdap vaccination
  • Breastfeeding initiation, duration and barriers to breastfeeding
  • Contraceptive use
  • Depression counseling, diagnosis, treatment
  • Infant safety seat ownership and installation practices
  • Oral health care

PRAMS Detailed Data Tables:

Where can I find PRAMS publications?

See Publications to view current Illinois publications containing PRAMS data. Go to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website (see Resources) to view multi-state PRAMS surveillance reports by year, special topics reports, fact sheets and reports published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Can researchers access PRAMS data?

Researchers may access multi-state PRAMS data through CDC’s PRAMS Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (CPONDER). CPONDER is a Web-based query system designed to give users the ability to create their own analysis from an indexed list of variables. CPONDER is available under Resources.

Requests for Illinois PRAMS datasets are reviewed on an individual basis. For more information about the request process, send an inquiry. Requests for multi-state datasets should be directed to the CDC.


Illinois uses the standardized data collection methods developed by CDC and used by all PRAMS participating states. Data is collected through mailed surveys with telephone follow-up for nonresponders. A stratified systematic sample of approximately 200 mothers is selected monthly from a frame of eligible birth certificates. At two to six months after delivery, each sampled mother is mailed an introductory letter followed by a 14-page survey. A reminder letter, second, and third mailing of the survey are sent to those who do not respond to earlier surveys. PRAMS interviewers telephone mothers who do not respond to any of the mailed surveys and administer the survey by telephone. Surveys are sent in both English and Spanish and telephone interviews are conducted in both languages.

Statistics are based on weighted data. The weights were developed by CDC to adjust for sample design, nonresponse patterns and omissions from the sampling frame. The final sampling weight used in the analysis of the survey data is the product of these three elements. Weighting is necessary to give unbiased estimates of population parameters. PRAMS data are representative of Illinois resident women, age 14 or older, who have given live birth in Illinois. The data are not applicable to all pregnant women. Women younger than the age of 18 are not asked questions about physical abuse.