It is well-documented that women in rural areas achieve worse outcomes in pregnancy and childbirth. Poor infrastructure, lack of qualified health professionals, poverty, and sheer geographic distances make it difficult for pregnant women to obtain the care they need during pregnancy and childbirth.
A baby born to an Alaska Native mother is four times as likely to die in the first year of life as a white baby. The New York Times recently reported on a unique initiative in one of the most rural parts of the northern state, which has seen the establishment of “prematernal waiting places”. Women who live hundreds of miles from their nearest hospital are given a warning to be in place 30 days before their due date, in a bid to ensure the baby is born with medical professionals on hand. It has also become a place where mothers-to-be bond over their shared experiences, and offer each other valued help and advice.
Safe Motherhood Week believes all women are entitled to quality maternal care, regardless of where they live.