Fears rise as 3 maternity units prepare to close in Alabama

By the end of the month, two Alabama hospitals will cease their maternity services, with a third to follow shortly. This will result in two counties, Shelby and Monroe, being left without any birthing hospitals. A predominantly Black neighborhood in Birmingham will also lose its sought-after maternity unit.

Pregnant women in Shelby County will now have to travel at least 17 miles farther to reach a hospital with OB-GYN services. Furthermore, because the county is bordered by another county that lacks an obstetrics unit, some residents will lose the nearest place to deliver their babies.

Honour McDaniel, the director of maternal and infant health initiatives for the March of Dimes in Alabama, expressed a sense of dread, knowing that families will have to drive through multiple counties to access maternity care.

In Monroe County, people may need to travel between 35 to 100 miles to reach a labor and delivery department. Unfortunately, this situation is not uncommon in Alabama, where over a third of the counties lack maternity care facilities, including hospitals with obstetrics care, birth centers, OB-GYNs, or certified nurse midwives.

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