Limited Access To Obstetrics Care, Alabama as Unfortunate Case Study

From NPR,

“Only 17 of 54 of Alabama’s rural counties have hospitals that offer obstetrics services. It’s one of the state’s greatest healthcare challenges.

…Imagine you’re about nine months pregnant, and you start to fill those twinges – contractions – that indicate your baby’s on the way. As the contractions get stronger, you have to consider what to do. If you live in a city or a suburb, it’s pretty obvious. You hop in a cab or a car and go. But what if your closest delivery center is more than an hour away? That’s the dilemma many women in rural Alabama are facing, says reporter Anna Claire Vollers.

..[I]n Alabama’s Black Belt, which includes counties with the state’s highest poverty rates, it’s even worse…Back in 1980, of the 12 Black Belt counties, 10 had hospitals that delivered babies. Today, one. What’s so disturbing with this trend, which is a national trend – it is by no means confined just to Alabama.

…In 2013, more than a quarter of expectant mothers in rural Alabama received less-than-adequate prenatal care. That’s one out of every four babies being born who aren’t getting the best start in life. And their mothers are not getting the care they need to stay healthy.” Read the full story »

To learn more about how the WV Perinatal Partnership is working to expand access to maternity care services in West Virginia, click here.