Wyoming prenatal and postpartum care down in new mothers
The most recent Wyoming Kids Count Data Book shows that one out of every five women in the state received less than adequate prenatal care in 2020. Plus, the number of women dying during pregnancy, delivery or up to one year after giving birth is increasing as well. This is part of a nationwide trend.
Micah Richardson, director of programs at the Wyoming Community Foundation, which publishes the data book, said the lack of prenatal care is most likely due to the rural nature of Wyoming.
"When you're living in a really rural area, it's difficult to access that care," said Richardson. "And so ensuring that we continue to have those resources or also providing tele-health to women could be helpful."
Richardson said during the pandemic, federal emergency response extended postpartum medicaid coverage for a year after birth rather than two months. Data shows that Wyomingites took advantage of this.
"The more care you can provide following that year of birth the better the outcomes right?" she said. "Just because the health care ends then doesn't mean that the needs are gone."
States that have extended postpartum medicaid coverage saw a decrease of maternal maternity. Richardson said Wyoming should take the opportunity to permanently extend this care. The data book is a collaboration with the Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center.