Pregnant Mothers Left Without Delivery Rooms

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( – By the end of this month, Shelby and Monroe counties in Alabama will be left without birthing hospitals, with a third one expected to follow suit within a few weeks. As a result of the hospitals no longer delivering babies, Birmingham’s predominantly black neighborhood was going to be left without a maternity unit.

In Shelby County, women who want to give birth at a hospital will be required to travel over 17 miles in order to reach a hospital that has an OB-GYN. Shelby, which is one of the biggest counties in Alabama, is located next to another county that does not have a birthing center, meaning that those in that area are also required to travel in order to deliver their babies.

The March of Dimes Director of Maternal and Infant Health Initiatives, Honour McDaniel, has stated that there was a “sense of dread” for families that would be required to travel three counties away in order to reach the hospital. At the same time, those in Monroe County could end up driving anywhere between 35 and 100 miles in order to reach a birthing center.

In Alabama, it is not uncommon for women to be required to cover large distances in order to give birth, as more than a third of the counties do not have any maternity care or birthing centers. This is because there are no hospitals that have certified nurse midwives, OB-GYNs, birth centers, or obstetrics care. As a result, the state also has one of the country’s highest maternal mortality rates.

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