Millions of American Women Lack Access to Maternity Care

According to an annual report from the March of Dimes, women in America cannot access health services for their mothers, and the number is increasing.

“Maternity care deserts are counties where there’s limited or no access to birthing hospitals, birth centers offering obstetric care, or obstetric providers,” the report states. “Areas with low or no access to maternal care affect over 5.6 million women and nearly 350,000 births across the U.S.”

The non-profit group has released information on maternity care access since 2018. The only March of Dimes report since the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the right to abortion in 2000.

“The data consistently shows that access to maternity care continues to decline, and more resources are needed to make maternal health a priority,” it reads.

Since 2018, American hospitals have closed more than 300 birthing centers. According to the report, hospitals in nearly 10 percent of the counties have shut down obstetrics services. In addition, “maternity care deserts” has increased by 4 percent.

“We know that women who don’t have prenatal care are three to four times more likely to die compared to women who have prenatal care,” Elizabeth Cherot, MD and the president and CEO of March of Dimes, told ABC News. This is the problem.”

Most states have these “deserts,” with most located in regions like the Midwest and the South. According to the report, about 90 percent of rural Alabama women are not served by hospitals for maternity care within 30 minutes of their residence. More than 46 percent of Alabama’s counties in Texas deserts, and twenty percent of the women who gave birth received “no or inadequate prenatal care.”

ABC News reported, “The U.S. has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with around 700 women dying each year as a result of complications due to pregnancy.”

“There is nothing stopping me from – a year from now, when I’ve put a little weight back on – looking back at photos from this time and thinking I was way too skinny.”

Dan Azagury, MD, an expert in bariatric surgery and an associate Professor of Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, tests GLP-1s in patients who are overweight before contemplating the possibility of bariatric surgery. In his patient group, medications like Ozempic may be a part of their long-term treatment strategies.

“We’re not doing it for the cosmetic part of it, we’re doing it for health,” the doctor said. “What I tell my patients is, if you’re planning to start on this medication, you should be OK with the idea of staying on it forever.”

There are better methods for doctors such as Thiara, who are experts in weight management, than utilizing Ozempic long-term with patients in a healthy weight range.


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