Maternity care deserts report


Nowhere to Go: Maternity Care Deserts Across the U.S. (2022 Report)

March of Dimes has released its 2022 report on maternity care deserts across the United States—counties where there’s a lack of maternity care resources, no hospitals or birth centers offering obstetric care, and no obstetric providers. (Learn more about how maternity care deserts are defined here.)

Underwritten by Reckitt and their Enfa portfolio of brands, our partner in the Better Starts for All pilot initiative, the report explores the many facets of health care that affect how and where maternity care is provided in the US and also confirms that access to maternity care is worsening throughout the country.

The new findings:

  • Areas where there is low or no access affect up to 6.9 million women and almost 500,000 births across the U.S.

  • This includes a five percent increase in counties that have less maternity access since 2020.

  • In maternity care deserts alone, approximately 2.2 million women of childbearing age and almost 150,000 babies are affected.

  • There’s a two percent increase in counties that are maternity care deserts since our 2020 report. That’s 1,119 counties and an additional 15,933 women with no maternity care.

  • Florida had the most women impacted by improvements to maternity care access (more than 92,000).

  • Ohio had the most women impacted by overall reductions in access to care (over 97,000).

New sections in the report:

Mobile Health Unit

Mom & Baby Mobile Health Centers®: An access solution for maternity care deserts, ready for scale across the U.S.

In 2020, March of Dimes and Reckitt began Better Starts for All, a pilot program to increase access to care and improve outcomes in maternity care deserts. We implemented two evidence-based interventions, Community Health Workers and Mom & Baby Mobile Health Centers® in the Washington, DC area and Southeast Ohio. We found that women prefer services from providers they trust in an individual, rather than group setting. The pilot has seen an impressive number of visits and has already exceeded our program goals with more than 724 women receiving care through 2,292 visits. Read our Case Study.

Policy solutions we recommend to Congress and state governments that can help reduce maternity care deserts

  1. Passing Medicaid postpartum extension from 60 days to 12 months to give moms and babies critical support during the fourth trimester

  2. Expanding telehealth services to bridge gaps in health care, especially obstetric services where none exist and costs are considerable

  3. Accounting for areas of chronic disease as contributors to maternity care deserts

  4. Strengthen network adequacy requirements for health care plans made available through Affordable Care Act

  5. Join us in advocating now to get better access to health care for moms and babies today!