A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has revealed that the maternal mortality rate in hospitals has decreased. However, Georgia continues to have one of the highest overall maternal mortality rates in the United States. The study examined 11 million hospital discharges over a 13-year period and observed a 57% reduction in maternal deaths within hospitals.
Despite this improvement, Georgia still struggles with high maternal mortality rates. The state’s ranking is determined by considering maternal mortality during pregnancy and even after childbirth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women in Georgia are twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared to other parts of the country. Additionally, African-American mothers in Georgia are twice as likely to die as white mothers. Limited access to healthcare is identified as one of the major challenges in the state.
One of the contributing factors is the lack of healthcare centers that cater to women with chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. These women, who are at a higher risk of adverse outcomes, often face difficulties in accessing prenatal care due to factors like geographical location or the unavailability of hospitals providing specialized care. Around 35% of counties in Georgia are categorized as maternity care deserts, where maternity health services are limited or nonexistent, particularly in rural areas.
Improving access to care is crucial in addressing this issue. Measures such as facilitating coverage from work to seek necessary care and ensuring that healthcare options are readily available to mothers are essential. Prompt access to healthcare is especially vital for conditions like pre-eclampsia, where symptoms can develop rapidly.