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Birth outcomes

Infants: important to public health & our future

About 70,000 babies are born every year in Minnesota. Most women have a normal term pregnancy and give birth to a healthy infant. However, birth outcomes such as prematurity and low birth weight can cause difficulties for infant health and survival. Poor birth outcomes also place financial and emotional burdens on families and communities.

Steps to take for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby

Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant can reduce the likelihood of an adverse birth outcome with the following guidelines:

  • Stop smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Do not use alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Get preconception health care and early prenatal health care
  • Follow nutritional and other advice carefully
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily
  • Avoid exposure to mercury (in fish), lead, and other chemical toxins at work and home
  • Use contraception to space pregnancies or avoid unintended pregnancy

What's being done about birth outcomes?

Minnesota Center for Health Statistics collects, analyzes, and reports state and county data on a variety of health outcomes, including births and deaths. 

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Section provides statewide leadership and public health information to promote, improve, and maintain the health of women, children, and families in Minnesota. MCH programs include activities to reduce infant mortality, promote healthy birth outcomes, and support family planning.

The MDH Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Program helps eligible pregnant women eat well and stay healthy.

The MDH Family Home Visiting Section provides grants and technical assistance to local Family Home Visiting programs statewide. Family Home Visiting is a voluntary, home-based service for pregnant women and families with young children that supports healthy pregnancies, improves child health, and links families to resources.

Minnesota PRAMS (Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System) collects and provides data on maternal and child health indicators. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides data and other information about Pregnancy.