Rural women have higher pregnancy-related mortality due to lack of specialty care

The Daily Yonder presents national statistics and recent research out of Montana on rural maternal health. Amid national statistics that show rural women are twice as likely to die from pregnancy complications than their urban counterparts, the Montana researchers identify both rural women’s distance from medical facilities, but also their lack of access to specialty care. The problem is particularly acute in Montana, where almost half of the state’s counties have no obstetrics units and are considered maternity-care deserts. However, Montana researchers highlight the value of an intersectional lens, as “the challenges associated with rurality are compounded by racism.” Nationwide, Indigenous and Black pregnant people face pregnancy-related mortality two and three times higher than that among white pregnant people. The article elevates an innovative program, called Project Echo, which aims to reduce rural maternal mortality by connecting rural healthcare providers to urban-based specialists who provide specialized training and mentorship.