"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Millions of American women haven’t any access to obstetric care

August 1, 2023 – Millions of girls in America lack adequate access to maternity health care, and that number is growing, in response to an annual report by the March of Dimes.

“Obstetric deserts are counties where there is limited or no access to birthing clinics, birth centers with obstetric care, or obstetric providers,” the report says. “Areas with little or no access to obstetric care affect over 5.6 million women and nearly 350,000 births across the United States.”

The nonprofit organization has been publishing its data on access to obstetric care since 2018. This was the primary March of Dimes report for the reason that U.S. Supreme Court struck down abortion rights last 12 months.

“The data consistently show that access to obstetric care continues to decline and more resources are needed to prioritize maternal health,” it says.

Since 2018, American hospitals have closed greater than 300 maternity hospitals. Hospitals in nearly 10% of counties have lost their obstetric services, the report says. And the variety of “obstetric deserts” has increased by 4%.

“We know that women who do not receive prenatal care are three to four times more likely to die than women who do receive prenatal care,” said Elizabeth Cherot, MD and CEO and President of March of Dimes abc news. That is the crisis.”

Most states have such “deserts,” most of them in the Midwest and South. Nearly 90 percent of women in rural Alabama have no maternity hospitals within 30 minutes of their homes, the report says. More than 46 percent of Texas counties are deserts, and 20 percent of women giving birth had “no or inadequate prenatal care.”

ABC News reported: “The United States has one among the very best maternal mortality rates on the planet. Each 12 months, about 700 women die from complications related to pregnancy.”