ATLANTA — The CDC says with recent maternal deaths across the country on the rise, improving quality care and provider-patient communication is crucial to reversing this alarming trend.
However, according to a CDC report released Tuesday, nearly 1 in 5 women report being mistreated by providers during pregnancy.
The report also states 1 in 3 Black, Hispanic, or multiracial women reported feeling discriminated against during their pregnancy, and nearly half of all women reported not asking questions or sharing concerns with their provider about their pregnancy.
”I do feel like it’s, it’s shocking,” Brittany Waggoner, Maternal and Infant Quality Improvement Advisor with the Indiana Hospital Association, said.
Waggoner said the report comes at a time the number of OB hospitals closing is going up.
”It is on the rise, not just in the state of Indiana but nationally as well,” Waggoner said.
The IHA says counties and hospital organizations are holding out, for now, to make up for OB hospitals closing, but that more must be done. Currently, Indiana ranks third nationwide in maternal mortality rates.
”Most of what I see in medical care is really a lack of prenatal care for women, and that is something that we’re trying to address so that we can decrease maternal mortality,” Dr. Philip Eskew, a retired Indiana OBGYN of 38 years, said.
In terms of communicating concerns about potential mistreatment, the Indiana Hospital Association says there is no statewide portal for maternity care patients to do so.
”We need to make sure that we’re providing a safe space for women to be able to talk to their doctors, especially during pregnancy,” Christine Stinson with the Wayne County Health Department said.
Stinson said 90 percent of Indiana counties have opted into the Health First Indiana Initiative so far. She said Wayne County plans to use some of the state dollars towards maternity care.
”We look to partnering with local providers, with our hospital, with other agencies that provide support to families,” Stinson said.
Counties have until September 1st to opt into that funding. We also reached out to the Indiana Department of Health about the CDC report. A spokesperson said the department cannot comment on outside research.