New study reveals worst states to give birth in the US

Data and results compiled by a birth injury law firm

Olivia Hebert
Los Angeles
Tuesday 19 March 2024 23:23 GMT
Inside the Gaza hospital where mums are too weak to breastfeed

A recent study revealed which states in the US are the worst places to give birth in 2024.

A birth injury law firm compiled data and analysed the results to find out which states were the best places for mothers to give birth. The firm considered the impact of factors like maternal and infant mortality, and the cost of healthcare and childcare in each state before putting together a list based on the data.

Mississippi was at the bottom of the list, with its significant healthcare challenges as well as alarmingly high infant and maternal mortality rates directly contributing to its low ranking. The Magnolia state reportedly loses over three times more babies than the state with the number one ranking, North Dakota, as well as 9.39 infant deaths per 1,000 births as opposed to North Dakota’s 2.77 deaths.

Experts say that rampant pro-life legislation and a lack of reproductive health education are key factors as to why women in Mississippi aren’t getting access to the care they need and deserve. Since the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade was overturned, the state put a trigger ban on all abortions except those that could save a mother’s life, or in cases of rape or incest.

The pro-life organisation, the Mississippi Birth Coalition, called for more funding and resources devoted to supporting pregnant women and mothers, dismissing the notion that pro-life ideology has directly contributed to poor reproductive care.

“There are many factors associated with this from tobacco use, STDs, chronic diseases, lack of quality healthcare, lack of access to doctors for women who are in rural parts of Mississippi,” coalition representative Getty Israel said to a local news station.

South Carolina and Tennessee mark the second and third worst on the list.

The former is ranked 49th due to having an infant mortality rate of 7.26 deaths per 1000 births and a maternal mortality rate of 32.7 deaths per 100,000 live births. Meanwhile, the fertility rate is 57.5 per 1000, childcare costs amount to $9,932 annually per child, and childbirth costs $1,342 out of pocket. These costs aren’t inviting for new families trying to get their footing while staying frugal.

According to the study, Tennessee contends with similar challenges, with infant mortality rates found to be 6.18 per 1000 births, and maternal mortality rates to be 41.7 per 100,000 live births. To top it off, childcare within the state reportedly costs $8,759 annually.

The Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center at Vanderbilt University says that policy changes in Tennessee could lead to lower mortality rates and more affordable care.

Researchers found that if the state government expanded Medicaid eligibility or significantly increased the minimum wage, they would be able to move the needle even more dramatically. However, given the current political climate in the state, they noted that it was highly unlikely this would occur.

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