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Postpartum Assessment of Women Survey (PAWS)

Postpartum Assessment of Women Survey PAWS icon

The Postpartum Assessment of Women Survey (PAWS) is the first large-scale data collection effort on the health of U.S. women and their families in the year after birth.

By the Numbers

  • 1 in 3
    Pregnancy-related deaths occur one week to one year after birth
  • 3 in 5
    Pregnancy-related deaths could be prevented
  • 87 to 94%
    Of women report a health problem in the first three months postpartum

The goal of the survey is to give voice to the experiences of women and families after birth. The findings will help to better identify and address the causes of postpartum maternal morbidity and mortality. 


The purpose of the Postpartum Assessment of Women Survey (PAWS) is 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. The survey will ask a representative sample of women who recently gave birth from six states and New York City 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 in the year after birth.

PAWS is an interdisciplinary research collaboration between Columbia University researchers and seven city and state departments of health. The survey is part of a larger Columbia World Project, “Leveraging Policy to Improve Maternal Health in the Fourth Trimester.” Columbia World Projects is a Columbia University initiative that mobilizes the university’s researchers and scholars to work with governments, organizations, businesses and communities to tackle global challenges and improve people’s lives.

Study Leads




Student Alumni




PAWS is being conducted in collaboration with seven city and state departments of heath.


In addition to government partners, PAWS has benefited from expert input from the following individuals:

Lindsay Admon, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan

Brittany Chambers, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

Katy Kozhimannil, PhD, MPA
Professor, Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health; Director, Rural Health Research Center

Dara Mendez, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburg Graduate School of Public Health

Alison Stuebe, MD
Professor, Department of Maternal and Child Health, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health; Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UNC School of Medicine

Survey Implementation

For six study sites, PAWS is being implemented by the Rutgers Bloustein Center for Survey Research (BCSR). BCSR provides high quality, non-partisan, objective research services to government, academia, the private sector and non-profit organizations. The BSCR Maternal and Child Health Unit has more than a decade of experience conducting surveys of women and children including the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS).

Get Involved

The PAWS team is currently seeking support for knowledge translation efforts to maximize the impact of PAWS findings on policy and practice. If you or your organization is interested in supporting the current or future iterations of PAWS, please email

Survey Topics

The PAWS survey will collect information on several domains critical to the health of women and families in the year after a child is born. To create a rich, longitudinal dataset covering the preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum periods, this information will ultimately be linked to data from state and city birth certificate files and the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). PAWS topics will include:

  • Demographics
  • Health Insurance
  • Health Care Access and Use
  • Unmet Health Needs
  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Housing
  • Nutrition
  • Financial Security and Employment
  • Social Support
  • Bias and Discrimination
  • COVID-19