New map shows maternity deserts in South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – A new map shows maternity care deserts in rural counties in South Carolina. The Maternity Care Services map was created by University of South Carolina alumna Taylor Olson and the map also showcases state clinics, hospitals, and licensed midwives for mothers in need of services.
Giving birth to a healthy baby can require a long trip for expecting mothers in parts of South Carolina, says USC Instructor of Women Gender Studies Dr. Kathryn Luchok. Prenatal care is crucial to a babies health and after birth care is vital to a mothers’ recovery and life.
“If you think about Richland County where there is a couple of hospitals nearby, sort of, but if you live way out in the county far from Lexington and far from Downtown Columbia then you might be traveling a half of an hour to get to your care,” says Luchok.
The map highlights rural counties in the state with few if any childbirth-related health services. Expecting mothers can be traveling thirty minutes to an hour for health care in rural areas.
“For some people that might mean it’s going to be very difficult or almost near impossible to get to those appointments and there are transportation issues, if you live in a rural area there is not a lot of public transportation, “ says Luchok.
Luchok also says many of these areas have higher infant or maternal mortality. Democrat South Carolina Senator John Scott says lawmakers are in the process of working with a hospital and the General Assembly to create an all women’s hospital in a central location to provide better accessible help for mothers.
“Apart of the initiative outside of just the Women’s health center larger providers will have to create satellite health centers, as I predicted four to five years ago, in the end it will probably be four or five providers who will have to be able to create satellite health centers,” says Senator Scott.