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Report: 27 Percent Of Hoosier Counties Considered ‘Maternal Care Deserts’

By Jill Sheridan, IPB News | Published on in Family Issues, Health, Statewide News
(Provided by the Indiana Hospital Association)
(Provided by the Indiana Hospital Association)

Indiana’s maternal mortality rate is twice the national average. As Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Jill Sheridan reports, a new national map of areas without hospitals, health providers, and women without health insurance from the March of Dimes aims to shed light on how the state can get that rate down.

The United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality in developed nations, and Indiana’s is one of the highest in the country – 27 percent of its counties are considered maternal care deserts, or a county in which access to maternity health care services is limited or absent, either through lack of services or barriers to a woman’s ability to access that care.

Stacey Stewart is the March of Dimes President and says many women do not have the resources to receive medical care before and after pregnancy, and many must travel long distances to get it.  The organization’s new national analysis shines light on a problem that has answers.

“Cases of maternal morbidity, many of them can be solved if they had access to care they need even after the baby comes,” says Stewart.

Recent state legislation created a maternal mortality review committee. Their first report is due next year.

The report also highlights policies that may help lower mortality rates, including health plans that cover maternal and neonatal care and focus on preventing preterm births.