Focusing on a mother’s and baby’s health before and during pregnancy, infancy and early childhood has life-long benefits.

We support the health of moms and babies through:

Improving Healthy Birth Outcomes

mom and baby

Why it Matters

  • Birth outcomes measures health at birth. These outcomes determine whether a child has a “healthy start," or may have current and future health problems.
  • Certain health conditions, social and economic factors, and behaviors can increase the risk of poor reproductive and birth outcomes.

What the Data Shows

  • In Dane County, there are significant racial disparities in infant mortality rates attributable to social determinants like income, racism, access to health care, disease status, chronic stress, nutrition and weight status.
  • Complications due to preterm birth (births happening before the 37th week of pregnancy) is the leading cause of infant mortality in Dane County.

Initiatives to Improve Healthy Birth Outcomes

Fetal Infant Mortality Review

We coordinate a Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) process to improve our understanding of the conditions that contribute to stillbirth and infant death.

FIMR provides us with more thorough and timely information about the medical and social factors that affect the families who have experienced the tragic outcome of fetal or infant death. With this information, we can collaboratively work to improve prenatal and infant health.

FIMR consists of a case review team made up of health providers, representatives from community-based organizations, public health practitioners and social service providers that:

  • Reviews summaries of medical records, other relevant records, and maternal interviews.
  • Identifies health system, social service system, and community factors that may have contributed to deaths and makes recommendations for change.
  • Works with community organizations/coalitions to identify and act on strategies to improve maternal and child health and birth outcomes.
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FIMR Birth Parent Interviews

As part of the FIMR process, Public Health Madison & Dane County extends an interview option to all parents who have experienced a loss from 20 weeks gestation up to one year old after birth. The purpose of the interview is to learn more about the birth parent’s experiences so that we can improve prenatal and infant health services in the future.

For questions about the birth parent interview process, contact us.

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Community Engagement to Address Black Infant Health

Currently, babies born to Black mothers in Dane County are two times more likely than white infants to be born underweight. Babies born early are and at risk of significant health challenges (including death) in their first year of life.

During 2018, we are working with the Dane County Health Council and the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness on a collaborative community engagement campaign intended to address and identify solutions to lower the incidence of low birth weight babies born to Black women in Dane County. The project includes a series of focus groups and forums across the community to ensure that families most impacted are engaged.

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Increasing Breastfeeding Rates

breastfeeding mom

Why it Matters

  • Breastfeeding reduces risk of certain illnesses in moms and infants, giving baby a healthy start that lasts a lifetime.
  • Breastfeeding saves money, is better for the environment, and moms who breastfeed may miss less work caring for a sick baby than moms who feed their baby with formula.

What the Data Shows

  • There are racial disparities in our community in whether women begin to breastfeed, and in how long they breastfeed.
  • There is a need for culturally and linguistically appropriate breastfeeding support in our community.

Initiatives to Support Businesses and Community Agencies

We are addressing barriers women and families face in their decision, ability, and desire to breastfeed in order to provide equal opportunities for everyone to live the healthiest life possible. Some examples include:

  • Help set up lactation spaces by providing guidance including breastfeeding friendly business resources, lactation room suggestions, sample policy, and micro-grant funding (micro grant funding is only available to community agencies and small businesses)
  • Offer a free lactation tent for community events to promote access to pumping & breastfeeding in a variety of settings
  • Identify and map geographic gaps ( in lactation spaces accessible to the public and target clinics, community centers, libraries, and other creative spaces to establish public lactation spaces
  • Support community-based breastfeeding and doula support organizations that focus on providing support to women of color and those in low-income communities. 

Breastfeeding Support Services

Information on community resources for breastfeeding. 


This website sometimes uses the term "woman," "women," and female gendered pronouns "she" and "her" because most people in need of workplace accommodations and other support related to breastfeeding are women. It is important to recognize, however, that this population also includes people who do not identify as women, including some gender non-conforming people and some transgender men.

PHMDC: Safe, Welcoming and Inclusive