Alabama’s maternal and child health are at risk as health care deserts worsen

Maternal and child health in Alabama is again among the worst in the United States, according to a new annual study by March of Dimes.

The nonprofit organization dedicated to improving maternal and baby health in the United States released its 2022 report card this month, giving Alabama an unsatisfactory mark for its preterm birth rate. Last year, 13.1% of babies born in the state were preterm, or less than 37 weeks gestation.

This is the highest rate Alabama has seen since March of Dimes took its record in 2011, and it’s only lower than Louisiana’s 13.5% rate and Mississippi’s 15.0% rate.

Premature babies can have problems with vision, learning, hearing and other aspects of development.