More than 200 rural hospitals have closed their birthing units between 2004 and 2014, according to the University of Minnesota’s Rural Health Research Center. That’s left millions women of reproductive age facing longer drives to deliver babies. Studies show these distances bring with them increased rates of complications and infant deaths, as well as longer stays in neonatal intensive care units.

In Texas, just 70 of the state’s 162 rural hospitals still deliver babies. More than two-thirds of rural counties in Florida, Nevada, and South Dakota do not have obstetric services, and 16 percent of Minnesota’s rural counties lost those services in just the past decade.

SOURCE: northcarolinahealthnews.org, April 17, 2017