Experts recommend early and routine prenatal and postnatal care to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum experience. However, most women have not received education on the importance of prenatal care. Certain barriers can prevent them from getting women the care and support they need: ranging from difficulty getting transportation, to finding a provider that takes their insurance, to going to a provider with available appointments. It’s critical to ensure that all women have ready access to health care in their community to not only help prevent complications, but also to prevent existing complications from becoming life threatening.
The importance of prenatal care during pregnancy is huge. Prenatal care aims to look for any risks or complications, while simultaneously seeking to improve the overall health of the mother. This is a highly effective way to reduce negative health outcomes and curb infant mortality.
A recommended schedule of prenatal visits:
- Weeks 4 to 28: 1 prenatal visit a month
- Weeks 28 to 36: 1 prenatal visit every 2 weeks
- Weeks 36 to 40: 1 prenatal visit every week
Babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and have birth complications. NBC News says the CDC has found that about 700 women die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth every year, putting the U.S. in last place among all developed nations in terms of maternal mortality. Researchers found that of the 658 women who died of maternal causes in 2018, black women fared the worst, dying 2½ times more often than white women.
The transportation barrier goes beyond prenatal care, a California study found that only 49.4 percent of its Medicaid mothers attended a postpartum visit. This may be explained by the fact that women struggle to get to crucial prenatal & postnatal appointments because they don’t have reliable access to transportation.
Roundtrip makes it easy and safe for women’s health clinics like AtlantiCare Maternal Fetal Medicine and St. Peter’s Maternal Fetal Medicine to ensure patients can make it to all their appointments and classes without stress to the mom-to-be. Patients can easily request single or recurring rides depending on their unique care needs. Increasing access to maternity care is urgent for this and future generations.