2.2 million women live in ‘maternity care deserts,’ report finds

More than 2.2 million women of childbearing age reside in “maternity care deserts,” or locations where medical facilities do not use obstetric care, birthing services or specialized providers, according to a brand-new report from March of Dimes.

Mackenzie Bean –
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

For the report, March of Dimes examined county-level data for 2017-18 from the Area Health Resources Files, a federal database that includes information on healthcare facilities, providers and population qualities, amongst other classifications..

Five report findings:.

1. About 35 percent of all U.S. counties (1,095 counties) were identified as maternity care deserts.

2. In 2017, almost 150,000 infants were born to women living in these locations..

3. Together with the 2.2 million women living in maternity care deserts, another 4.8 million are living in counties with limited access to maternity care.

4. Most maternity care deserts (889) remain in rural counties. The remaining 206 are in metropolitan counties.

5. Just 8 percent of obstetrics suppliers report operating in rural areas.

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The majority of maternity care deserts (889) are in rural counties. The staying 206 are in urban counties.

View the full report here.

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