Every 9 minutes, a woman suffers a life-threatening complication

during pregnancy or childbirth.

In the united states, 84 million people

live in an area where there is a shortage of healthcare providers.


You can help. Too many women have to drive an hour or more to access essential maternity care. Take action to support bipartisan, no-cost legislation to bring midwives and obstetricians to these communities.


While data is currently collected on general shortage areas, this bill would add data collection specifically on maternity care shortage areas.

The Improving Access to Maternity Care Act already passed the House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support in a vote of 405 to 0. In March, the Act was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The next step is to get additional Senators to co-sponsor the bill.

Take action today to urge your Senator to co-sponsor the Improving Access to Maternity Care Act and show their support for moms and babies across the U.S.

the u.s. is facing a maternal health crisis.

Provider Shortages

Nearly half of all counties in the United States do not have a single obstetrician providing maternity care.


Nearly 84 million people live in areas with shortages of healthcare providers, mostly in rural or
under-resourced urban communities.

Shortages of obstetricians, midwives, hospitals, and birth centers mean that some people, especially in rural areas, have to travel an hour or more to get basic prenatal and childbirth care. For women with complications who need to see a specialist, the drive can be prohibitive – as long as 5 hours round trip – leading some women to go without the level of care they need for the best chance at a healthy birth.

Every Mother Counts is supporting the Improving Access to Maternity Care Act to identify maternity care shortage areas and fill those gaps. The bill is currently before the United States Senate.

Lack of Insurance

There are 11 million uninsured women ages 19-64 in the U.S.


The countries with the best maternal health outcomes also have universal health coverage.

America’s healthcare system is the most complicated and expensive in the world. This means that many people go without the care they need. Uninsured women are more likely to forego preventive care, such as annual gynecological exams, which is important for a healthy pregnancy and can help identify problems early. In 2016, approximately 11% of adult women (not including the elderly) were uninsured. People of color are more likely to remain without coverage; among low-income women, Latinas and Black women have significantly higher uninsured rates (32% and 16%, respectively) compared with white women (12%).

Many states have expanded the number of people eligible for Medicaid resulting in 11 million more people being insured.

Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities

On average Black women are 4x as likely to die from pregnancy related complications than white women.


Chronic stress related to racism and social inequities contribute to a higher risk of complications and death for women of color.

The differences in maternal outcomes based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and indigenous status are stark, and are among the most extreme in any area of health in the United States. Maternal mortality rates are twice as high for women living in counties with high poverty rates, compared with women living in counties with low rates of poverty.

Community based organizations, including Commonsense Childbirth, offer proven solutions that can be expanded into more communities.

Chronic Conditions

High blood pressure, diabetes and obesity create added risks during pregnancy, especially for uninsured women.


When women are unable to access affordable health insurance or a regular provider, they are more likely to enter into pregnancy with chronic conditions.

Some of the most common chronic health conditions -- high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity – contribute to a higher risk in pregnancy and birth. Following the Affordable Care Act, 19 states, mostly concentrated in the South, decided not to expand Medicaid. As a result, 3.1 million poor, uninsured adults fall into a “coverage gap” — they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to purchase insurance on the Marketplace.

Women with consistent access to a health care provider throughout their lifetime are more likely to manage or address risks or complications early and maximize the chances of a healthy pregnancy and birth.


Too often women have procedures that they do not need or want.


The United States national Cesarean-section rate is nearly 32%.

The WHO has found that rates higher than 10% do not offer benefits to mothers or babies. In addition to Cesarean-sections, overused procedures include: inducing labor early, requiring women to stay in bed and restricting food and drink. Because all medical procedures come with risks as well as benefits, procedures should not be used for the convenience of maternity care providers or facilities and with the mother’s consent. For example, if a mother does not want to be induced, she should not be induced.

Many hospitals and provider practices are committing to improving maternal healthcare by revising OB and hospital practice guidelines to prevent C-sections and premature deliveries, and to allow women to labor longer. Additionally, midwifery care results in lower rates of interventions like induction of labor, epidural use, continuous fetal heart monitoring, and leads to higher rates of normal vaginal delivery.

Over half of
all maternal
deaths in the U.S.
can be prevented.

Did you know?
The U.S. is the only
industrialized country
with a consistently
rising maternal
mortality rate.

Meet the mothers and
health care providers of
Giving Birth in America: Louisiana.

Putting maternal health on the map.

Click on the map to learn more.

GBA Website Statistics

CDC Foundation. 2017. “Report from Maternal Mortality Review Committees: A View into Their Critical Role.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017. “Pregnancy-Related Deaths.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017. “Severe Maternal Morbidity in the United States.”

GBD 2015 Maternal Mortality Collaborators. 2016. “Global, regional, and national levels of maternal mortality, 1990-2015: a systemic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015.” The Lancet, vol. 388, pp. 1775-812.

WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division. 2015. “Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015.”

Infographic: The U.S. Is Facing a Maternal Health Crisis

Artiga, Samantha, Anthony Damico, and Rachel Garfield. 2015. “The Impact of the Coverage Gap for Adults in States not Expanding Medicaid by Race and Ethnicity.” Kaiser Family Foundation.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2016. “Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: Maternal Health.”

Congressional Budget Office. 2016. “Federal Subsidies for Health Insurance Coverage for People Under Age 65: 2016 to 2026.”

Kaiser Family Foundation. 2016. “Distribution of the Nonelderly Uninsured by Race/Ethnicity.”

Kaiser Family Foundation. 2016. “Medicaid Expansion Enrollment.”

Kaiser Family Foundation. 2016. “Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).”

Kaiser Family Foundation. 2016. “Uninsured Rates for Nonelderly Adults by Gender.”

Lu, Michael C., Milton Kotelchuck, Vijaya Hogan, Loretta Jones, Kynna Wright, and Neal Halfon. “Closing the Black-White Gap In Birth Outcomes: A Life-Course Approach.” Ethnicity & Disease: Volume 20, Winter 2010.

Martin, Joyce A., Brady E. Hamilton, Michelle J.K. Osterman, Anne K. Driscoll, and T.J. Matthews. 2017. “Births: Final Data for 2015.” National Vital Statistics Reports.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. 2016. “Universal Health Coverage and Health Outcomes.”

Salganicoff, Alina, Usha Ranji, Adara Beamesderfer, and Nisha Kurani. 2014. “Women and Health Care in the Early Years of the Affordable Care Act.” Kaiser Family Foundation.

Sandall, Jane, Hora Soltani, Simon Gates, Andrew Shennan, and Declan Devane. 2016. “Midwife‐led continuity models versus other models of care for childbearing women.” Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group.

Sing, Gopal K. 2010. “Maternal Mortality in the United States, 1935-2007: Substantial Racial/Ethnic, Socioeconomic, and Geographic Disparities Persist.” Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

World Health Organization. 2015. “WHO Statement on Caesarean Section Rates.”

MAP: Maternal Health in the USA

Center for Disease Control/National Center for Health Statistics. 2015. “Natality public-use data 2007-2015.”

Kaiser Family Foundation. 2016. “Births Financed by Medicaid.”

Kaiser Family Foundation. 2013-2015. “Percent of Adult Women Who Did Not See a Doctor in the Past 12 Months Due to Cost.”

Kaiser Family Foundation. 2016. “Population Distribution by Gender.”

Kaiser Family Foundation. 2016. “Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).”

Kaiser Family Foundation. 2017. “Status of State Action on the Medicaid Expansion Decision.”

National Vital Statistics System. 2017. “Births: Provisional Data for 2016.”

Review to Action. 2017. “MMR Map.”

United Health Rankings. 2017. “2016 Health of Women and Child Report: Maternal Mortality.”