With over 3.5 million births in the United States annually, and rising rates of maternal mortality and morbidity, there is ample opportunity to improve maternal outcomes across the country.1 More than 2 million women of childbearing age live in maternity care deserts, areas without access to birthing facilities or maternity care providers. Access to maternity care is essential for preventing poor health outcomes and eliminating health disparities. This report expands on the 2022 Nowhere to Go: Maternity Care Deserts Across the U.S. report2 by taking a deeper dive into state level data and examining additional barriers that impact access to care. This data can be used to inform policies and practice recommendations in each state.
This report presents data on several important factors: levels of maternity care access and maternity care deserts by county; distance to birthing hospitals; availability of family planning services; community level factors associated with prenatal care usage as well as the burden and consequences of chronic health conditions across the state. While not an exhaustive list, each of these topics contribute to the complexity of maternity care access in each state. Working to improve access to maternity care by bringing awareness to maternity care deserts and other factors that limit access is one way in which March of Dimes strives to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity for all pregnant people.
45% increased likelihood of preterm birth compared to women with none.
- Access To Maternity Care
- Distance To Maternity Care
- Availability Of Family Planning Services
- Disparities In Prenatal Care
- Chronic Health Conditions And Preterm Birth
- Policy Solutions And Actions
- Policy Innovation
Families face enough obstacles. Not getting the care they need shouldn’t be one of them. Where You Live Matters: Maternity Care Deserts and the Crisis of Access and Equity examines access to maternity care in all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. You can make a difference. Share what is happening in your state on your social channels, by email or by text and encourage others to take action by advocating for change.
This report is generously supported by a grant from the Elevance Health Foundation. Statements in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Elevance Health Foundation or its affiliates unless explicitly noted.
Special thanks to Jazmin Fontenot, MPH; Ripley Lucas, MPH, Ashley Stoneburner, MPH; Christina Brigance, MPH; Erin Jones, JD; Kelly Hubbard, MPH; Motoko Oinuma; Danielle Procopio, MPH; Kelly Ernst, MPH; TiashaLetostak, PhD, MPH; Kathryn Mishkin, DrPH, MPH, MA; Elizabeth Cherot, MD, MBA and many others from across March of Dimes who contributed to this report to improve access to maternity care in the United States. March of Dimes would also like to thank PRI for their help with report design and expertise.
Suggested citation: Fontenot, J, Lucas, R, Stoneburner, A, Brigance, C, Hubbard, K, Jones, E, Mishkin, K. Where You Live Matters: Maternity Care Deserts and the Crisis of Access and Equity in Alabama. March of Dimes. 2023.
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