County health officials released the first Report on Maternal and Infant Health for Montgomery County. The report includes information and data on maternal and infant health topics in the county and identifies the Department of Health and Human Services role in providing education and services to reduce adverse pregnancy-related outcomes and improve maternal and infant health among county residents.
“Maternal and Infant Health in Montgomery County, Maryland, 2008-2017” highlights where Montgomery County stands in comparison to the state and the nation on maternal and infant health topics.
"Though Montgomery County performs better than state and national averages related to maternal and infant health indicators overall, great disparities of pregnancy-related outcomes among population subgroups on race/ethnicity and geographic areas are of particular concerns. DHHS programs play a significant role in providing education and services to reduce adverse pregnancy-related outcomes and improve maternal and infant health in the county" said Dr. Travis A. Gayles, County health officer. "Our goal is to utilize the data to enhance our many successful health programs and develop new, innovative and effective programs that are directly applicable to meeting the public health needs of Montgomery County."
The report completes a core function of public health surveillance and disseminates information clearly and succinctly. The data can is used to establish evidence-based, innovative practices; policy analysis; drive practice innovation; policy analysis; preventative methods; health promotion messages; and planning activities related to public health. The information brings attention to areas of success and weakness, which can be analyzed by stakeholders to design appropriate programming and interventions to address gaps in outcomes.
Main findings of the report include:
• The county's population has become more diverse over time; the non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic populations have increased while the non-Hispanic White population has decreased.
• The county performs better on most maternal and infant health indicators than Maryland and the U.S.
• Non-Hispanic Blacks have higher percentages of preterm and low-weight births than other population subgroups.
• Non-Hispanic Blacks have higher rates of infant and fetal death than other population subgroups.
• Though there is a decreasing trend of severe maternal morbidity (e.g. severely complicated pregnancies and deliveries) in the county, non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics experienced 60 percent and 46 percent greater risks respectively than their non-Hispanic White counterpart.