Local counties deemed 'Maternal Care Deserts'

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DECATUR, Ill. (WAND)- More than a third of Illinois counties qualify as “Maternal Care Deserts,” according to a March of Dimes report issued this week.

The report lists several central Illinois counties as such deserts, including Shelby, Piatt and Edgar Counties.

“These are counties, especially in rural areas but also in urban and metropolitan areas, that lack even basic obstetric services,” said March of Dimes President Stacey Stewart. “There’s no hospital that offers obstetric services, there’s no hospital that has obstetric services, there’s no OBGYN or certified nurse-midwife.”

The report comes as part of a push called #BlanketChange that calls for more investment in care for mothers, both before and after delivering a child. Organizers point to data that shows about 700 women die of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth each year.

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