March of Dimes: Banks Co. a ‘maternity care desert’

A county was classified as a maternity care desert if there were no hospitals providing obstetric care, no birth centers, no OB/GYN and no certified nurse midwives.

The March of Dimes 2022 report was released Tuesday.

Banks is the only county in the immediate Gainesville area that fell into the “maternity care desert” category. The report says more than one in three Georgia counties is a maternal care desert and also found that nearly 17% of pregnant women in the state received little to no prenatal care. Maternal mortality in Georgia also continues as the worst in the nation with nearly all maternal deaths being deemed preventable. In addition, the study found Black women were two times more likely to die from pregnancy compared to white women. The AJC reports the Georgia Department of Public Health refused to comment on the report.  (GEORGIA NEWS NETWORK CONTRIBUTED TO THIS STORY)

The report, which you can read here Maternity Care Deserts Report | March of Dimes found that:

  • Areas where there is low or no access affect up to 6.9 million women and almost 500,000 births across the U.S.
  • This includes a five percent increase in counties that have less maternity access since 2020.
  • In maternity care deserts alone, approximately 2.2 million women of childbearing age and almost 150,000 babies are affected.
  • There’s a two percent increase in counties that are maternity care deserts since our 2020 report. That’s 1,119 counties and an additional 15,933 women with no maternity care.
  • Florida had the most women impacted by improvements to maternity care access (more than 92,000).
  • Ohio had the most women impacted by overall reductions in access to care (over 97,000).