Intended for healthcare professionals


More than a third of US counties lack obstetric care as services are deemed unprofitable

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: (Published 17 October 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o2487
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York

More than a third of the 3143 counties in the US are maternity “deserts” without a hospital or birth centre that offers obstetric care and without any obstetric providers—and the situation is getting worse, says a report from the March of Dimes organisation.1

Maternity deserts have increased by 2% since the 2020 report, said the organisation which seeks to improve the health of women and babies. Care is diminishing where it is needed most—especially in rural areas. It affects nearly seven million women of childbearing age and about half a million babies.

Stacey Stewart, president and chief executive of the March of Dimes, said that two American women die every day from complications of pregnancy and childbirth, and …

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