top of page

Infant & Maternal health

Improving health for mothers and their babies can lay the foundation for lifelong health and well-being. 


Having a healthy pregnancy is one of the best ways to promote a healthy birth, and getting early and regular prenatal care improves the chances of a healthy pregnancy. Barriers to receiving prenatal care include lack of insurance, long waiting times, inability to find child care, or language and cultural barriers.


Initiated prenatal care in the first trimester in SLO County

Initiated prenatal care in the first trimester in CA
insurance during pregnancy

Lack of insurance can cause parents to delay or miss critical prenatal care during their pregnancies.


Had gaps in insurance during pregnancy in SLO County

Had gaps in insurance during pregnancy in CA
Low Birthweight

Being born at a healthy birthweight is critical to infant health.  An average newborn weighs about 8 pounds. Infants weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces, are considered low birthweight and are more likely to develop chronic health conditions later in life.


Babies born with low birthweight in SLO County

Babies born with low birthweight in CA

Breastfeeding provides the most complete form of nutrition for infants, with a range of benefits for health, growth, immunity and development. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life and breastfeeding in conjunction with introduction of complementary foods until at least one year of age.


Feeding only breastmilk for at least the first three months of life has been associated with fewer ear infections, respiratory tract infections and gastrointestinal infections.


exclusive breastfeeding at 3 months in
SLO County

exclusive breastfeeding at 3 months in
Postpartum depression

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD), which includes prenatal and postpartum depression and/or anxiety, affects parents between pregnancy and the two years following birth.

Suspect that you or someone you know suffers from a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder? See to find local resources that can help.


of new mothers experienced postpartum depression in SLO County

of new mothers experienced postpartum depression in CA

"I never thought I’d have postpartum depression. My pregnancy had been fine, the birth was textbook, and the baby was beautiful and healthy. But once my husband and I brought him home, the difficulties started."

- Community Health Survey respondent

Read more

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are events and environmental factors in children's lives that may have the potential to cause traumatic stress or negatively affect children's feelings of safety and stability. ACEs include household challenges such as food insecurity, mental illness, domestic violence, parental separation or incarceration, and exposure to violence. Children in CA fared slightly better in terms of ACEs than in the U.S. overall.


of children in CA have experienced no ACEs

of children in the U.S. have experienced no ACEs

“We are very comfortable financially now but when our kids were young, it was a struggle for many years. We couldn’t afford to live here if we hadn’t bought 30+ years ago. Housing costs and the stresses from that financial burden are huge! Need to somehow help young families survive in our community.”

- Community Health Survey respondent

Teen Births

Nationally, teen births have been estimated to cost approximately $28 billion annually in lost productivity and increased burdens on the health care, child welfare, and prison systems. The rate of teen births has been declining steadily over the past several years and has historically been lower in SLO County compared to the state overall.


teen birth rate (ages 15-19) in SLO County

teen birth rate (ages 15-19) in CA
Mapping Well-Being at birth

When a baby is born, parents provide important information about the infant's health and well-being, including assets such as parental employment history and the ability to afford and access health care.

By measuring these assets, California can allocate supports and services more equitably and earlier in children's lives.  That's the aim of the California Strong Start Index, shown below.

bottom of page