June 28, 2024

DOH’s New Perinatal Dashboard Offers Insights Into Pregnancy, Birth & Parenting in Washington State

A person’s health during pregnancy and childbirth can have long-term implications, both for the people giving birth and for their babies. To better understand this critical period, the Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) Office of Family and Community Health Improvement released a new, interactive tool in May of 2024, which provides insights into many aspects of pregnancy, birth and the experiences of parents across Washington state.  

The DOH’s new Perinatal Dashboard highlights data on several key areas:  

  • Health conditions during pregnancy 
  • Birth outcomes, including preterm births and low birth weights 
  • Substance use during pregnancy 
  • Postpartum and parenting experiences 
  • Overall pregnancy experience 

Data for the Perinatal Dashboard is sourced both from birth certificates and Washington’s Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). PRAMS is conducted by the Washington State DOH in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and surveys people who have recently given birth and gathers information about their experiences before, during and after their pregnancy. Categorized by age, race/ethnicity, Medicaid status and geography, the Perinatal Dashboard makes this information easily digestible with the intention that it will inform research, programming and policy development. 

The screenshot below (from June 27, 2024) gives an example of how the data is broken down to make it easily understood.

The new dashboard complements existing resources, which WithinReach helps families connect to every day, including Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program and Watch Me Grow Washington, which provides health and safety information to parents and caregivers of children aged 0 to 6. 

 “WithinReach has always understood that supporting lifelong health starts before birth,” said Sharon Silver, CEO and 20-year veteran of WithinReach. “We started out as Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies and, while our understanding of the best ways to offer support and how to be inclusive and equitable may have shifted, our mission to support families by connecting them to resources during pregnancy and their child’s early development hasn’t.”  

Sharon has spent her career supporting parents in the perinatal period, both at WithinReach and as a WIC nutritionist, a doula, and a perinatal yoga instructor. She leans into this experience as she leads our teams who directly support families, like our Pregnancy and Early Childhood Development (PECD) team. Our PECD team specializes in offering many of the supports identified as needs in the Perinatal Dashboard. This team offers expertise in assisting parents experiencing substance use disorder, families with questions about their child’s development, children with delays and disabilities, and parenting supports such as home visiting programs. This team receives direct referrals for families with these identified needs, partnering with state agencies such as the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) as well as the Department of Social and Human Services (DSHS). They also work in tandem with our Help Me Grow Washington hotline to offer families a wide array of parenting supports in addition to help with low-cost health insurance and food security support.  

It’s important that the data highlighted by the Perinatal Dashboard be available to a wide variety of stakeholders. By making this data public and easily accessible, the DOH offers the opportunity for people and organizations in Washington to work together towards healthier pregnancies, births and ultimately the overall health of people across our state. 

For more information, visit the DOH website 

Learn More: 

Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) | Washington State Department of Health

Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System | CDC

Birth Outcomes Dashboards

Plan of Safe Care for Families Experiencing Substance Use Disorder

Early Support for Infants & Children

Watch Me Grow