Maternity care deserts, or areas with limited or no access to maternal health care, are growing throughout the United States. According to a new report by the March of Dimes, up to 6.9 million women live in maternity care deserts, influencing almost 500,000 births across the U.S.
Since 2000, a decrease in obstetric providers translated into a five percent increase in the number of counties where women face significant barriers to accessing care. In total, 36 percent of counties in the U.S. are considered maternity care deserts. There are many contributors to this lack of access, but in Texas, the main driver is the lack of health insurance. Texas has the highest rate of uninsured women in the country, with an average of 23.3 percent of uninsured women.¹