Augusta has gained the top spot for a deadly problem, maternal deaths. WJBF News Channel Six's Dee Griffin is here with more on a group of women who are trying to take us from top to bottom for deaths.
Maternal Mortality is when a woman dies during pregnancy or within the first year of giving birth. Augusta has the amount of some small world countries. There are several causes. But there is a local group trying to raise awareness and lower those numbers.
Elizabeth Alger is a certified midwife would took giving birth into her own hands and have their babies at home. She explains, “I did a ton of research and decided that since I was low risk it made sense to stay home.” She and Laura Selvidio are now on a crusade to give other mothers the same options. They are raising awareness after learning of the extremely high percentage of women who die while pregnant, during birth or within a year of having a baby.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, women in the Augusta area are six times more likely to face this fate than another other city in this state. Elizabeth Alger says the time offered by midwives during visits could make a difference. “Midwives spend at least an hour at every prenatal so you get to know them very, very well. It's not like when you go see a Doctor you're lucky to get 15 minutes,” she says.
But thousands of local women don't even get that. Dr. Paul Browne of the GRU Maternal-Fetal Medicine section says, “60 percent of the patients in our clinic system do not come for their post part um visits.”
Dr. Paul Browne says the lack of personal income and health insurance are costing lives. “We have limitations and most of those limitations have to do with money. Our state budget is still not in the black and so we've had to cut medical services as part of the whole state restructuring and providers here have stopped taking Medicaid patients because they lose money on them.”
Algers says by offering more birthing options the state can cut down on deaths and costs while increasing quality of care for thousands of women. “It's about saving lives also about women having more choices too.”
Elizabeth Alger and Laura Selvidio are part of a group holding a “Rally to Improve Birth Outcomes.”
It will be held this Friday from 10am until noon outside the Richmond County Health Department on Laney- Walker Boulevard.