Women have been giving birth for centuries, but even with the advancements health care has made to date, there is still a high mortality rate – which is alarmingly higher in rural areas. “Approximately 700 women die every year in the US [due to] pregnancy-related complications. 25,000 women suffer unintended outcomes of labor and delivery that can result in significant short- or long-term consequences to their health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that two out of three pregnancy-related deaths are preventable.”
As a result of these stats, United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an action plan and has partnered to work to reduce maternal deaths and disparities that put women at risk pre, during and post pregnancy. HHS’ action plan works to:
- Reduce the maternal mortality rate by 50 percent
- Reduce low-risk cesarean deliveries by 25 percent
- Achieve blood pressure control by 80 percent of women with reproductive age with hypertension
Georgia Health Policy Center and the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs partnered and released an issue brief, Promoting Access to Care for Women of Reproduction Age with Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders in Rural Communities. Mortality rates are higher in rural areas than in urban areas and there are significant barriers between care and the patients that need it in rural areas. While pregnancy can be an exciting time, it’s also hard on the body over time and some expecting mothers suffer from depression. The issue brief mentions depression rates and drug use in women pre- and post-pregnancy. Mental health services aren’t the only services that are harder to access in rural areas; OB/GYN is too. Mental health services are less likely to be reported as extremely accessible. OB/GYN care lacks because of obstetric unit closures and a limited number of OB/GYN providers overall. There are less providers across specialties in rural areas.
What services do your patients need?