As of November, the Postpartum Assessment of Women Survey (PAWS) has completed eight months of data collection for a first-of-its-kind, large-scale survey on the health of U.S. women and their families in the year after giving birth. The survey will continue to be distributed for four more months.
The survey aims to better understand how to improve the health and quality of life of women and their families in the year after a child is born by asking a representative sample of women who gave birth in 2020 about their physical and mental health, health care use and the social determinants of health. Data from this effort will provide insights on actionable strategies that could be taken by state health departments, governments, clinicians and other relevant actors to promote the health of families and mitigate maternal morbidity and mortality.
The survey, part of the larger Columbia World Project Leveraging Policy to Improve Maternal Health in the Fourth Trimester, has already been distributed in Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Utah and Virginia. More than 3000 women have participated, a response rate of more than 75%.
The survey comes during a critical policy window when states across the country are considering whether to extend postpartum Medicaid from sixty days to one year postpartum. This extension was a new state option included in the American Rescue Plan of 2021, and would be made mandatory under the current House version of the Build Back Better Act under debate in Congress.
“Our hope is that PAWS data on the unmet needs of postpartum people will directly inform state decisions to adopt a postpartum Medicaid extension, as well as the development of policies and programs that could make coverage extensions more impactful among states that do,” Jamie Daw, one of the leads on the Leveraging Policy project, said.
Read more about PAWS and maternal health statistics for the 7 jurisdictions that are participating in the survey.