Report: 27 Percent Of Hoosier Counties Considered 'Maternal Care Deserts'

Oct 10, 2018

Indiana’s maternal mortality rate is twice the national average.  A new report maps areas without hospitals, providers and women without health insurance.

It shows that in Indiana, many women do not have the resources to receive medical care before and after pregnancy, and many must travel long distances to get it.

Stacey Stewart is the March of Dimes President and says its 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. 

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.

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.