Why is Georgia the deadliest state for pregnant women?
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Georgia is the deadliest state for pregnant women.
The maternal mortality rate is more than twice the national average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The numbers surrounding the issue are staggering, especially, for Black women in Georgia, who by some counts, are six times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications.
The Phoebe Putney Health System launched a program to help curb maternal mortality just last month.
“We just entered an agreement with the Nurse-Family Partnership. It’s a national organization where a nurse is paired with a momma. And this individual is with her through her pregnancy, through all her prenatal care and for the first two years of the child’s life,” said Dr. William M. Sewell, the hospital’s women and children’s medical director.
Maternal mortality is defined as the death of a woman during or up to a year after pregnancy.
Dr. Seema Csukas, with health coverage provider CaresSource Georgia, said the issue is bigger than most people think.
“It’s a huge crisis and people don’t realize people still die of pregnancy and pregnancy-related issues,” said Csukas.
Statistics on Georgia vary depending on the organization but by any count, they are among the poorest in the nation.
“There’s a racial disparity we have to think about, and there’s a geographic disparity where women in rural areas are more likely to have issues. You have to think a large part of this state is rural,” explained Csukas.
Csukas said many counties in rural Georgia don’t even have OB-GYNs, which means women are not getting access to prenatal care. Plus, pre-existing conditions play a role in a state where healthcare access, in general, is strained.
“The pregnant ladies who show up already having diabetes, hypertension, obesity, carrying a pregnancy is a big stress on a woman’s life and physical health,” said Dr. Sewell.
Phoebe also works with Albany Area Primary Health Care on the issue.
“We partner with AAPHC to make sure women have access to both prenatal care and counseling,” said Sewell.
Phoebe also has a coalition dedicated to preventing premature births by improving the health of pregnant women.
Copyright 2021 WALB. All rights reserved.