Rear Admiral Dr Wanda Barfield on Perinatal Morbidity and Mortality

Rear Admiral Wanda Barfield, MD, MPH, director of the Division of Reproductive Health for the CDC, discusses how the CDC is working to counteract perinatal morbidity and mortality in the United States.

What has your research shown about perinatal morbidity and mortality specifically in the United States, and what is being done to address it?

So, what we understand is 1, we're seeing that women are aging with time in terms of their first birth. We're also seeing that women are experiencing increasing rates of chronic disease such as diabetes, hypertension disorders, obesity, and mental health issues. That has consequences for not only the mother, not only during pregnancy but beyond pregnancy. 

And of course there are also consequences to her baby. What we're seeing with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC] is the importance to address chronic disease prevention in women of reproductive age. We really want to move upstream in terms of looking at the preconception health period, as well as the period between pregnancies and after pregnancies as women age onto adulthood. 
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