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State collecting information on plan for the health of pregnant women

DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Public Health is asking Iowans to fill out a survey to improve the state’s strategic plan for women who are pregnant.

The outreach effort is funded in part by a federal grant the state received to address disparities in maternal health. The survey will help figure out what the gaps are in the health system, according to Dr. Nalo Johnson, division director for health promotion and disease prevention at IDPH.

“Also, looking at what programs or experiences may be working well for them regarding their maternal health experience,” Johnson says, “and where there may be areas for innovation or ideas that we can be considering from a programmatic or a policy standpoint.”

Studies find black, Asian and Hispanic women in the state are considered at higher risk for maternal death compared to white women. The survey is meant for all Iowans, or those who work in Iowa, who have an interest in improving the state’s maternal health strategic plan.

Johnson says it allows people to tell the state what it’s doing well, but also where there are still gaps in the public health system.
“We obviously see differences between various racial and ethnic populations within the state,” Johnson says. “So our goal really is to be able to take that health disparities reducing approach to our maternal health efforts to ensure that every Iowan has access to a safe birth.”

Iowa’s maternal mortality rates have increased in the past several years, although the state still considers maternal death a rarity.

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