Hospitals across the U.S. closing down MATERNITY WARDS due to staff shortages, low birth rates
08/18/2023 // Laura Harris // Views

Several hospitals across the U.S. are making the difficult decision to shut down their maternity wards, leaving communities without essential maternity services and putting maternal and infant health at risk.

Back in July, Ohio-based University Hospitals (UH) announced their plan to stop maternity services in Ashland due to staff shortages and a decline in birth rates. UH Samaritan Medical Center Chief Operating Officer Sylvia Radziszewski explained: "Births are down annually for us. Historically we've run around the low 300s, [but now] we're expected to end the year at around 180 births."

OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center in Urbana, Illinois also announced in May its plan to discontinue obstetrics services at its Blessed Beginnings Birthing Center starting in September 2023. A press release stated that the decision was attributed to a combination of factors, such as access to care, travel time to hospitals, vulnerable populations, staff shortages and recruitment problems.

St. Alphonsus Medical Center, a member of the Trinity Health (TH) system, closed permanently on July 31. Prior to is closure, the hospital in Oregon's Baker City had the only maternity ward in Baker County. It was not legally obliged to provide maternity services unlike other hospitals that have faced similar challenges, Oregon Public Broadcasting said.

The closure of St. Alphonsus is part of a larger trend seen in TH-affiliated hospitals nationwide. Meanwhile, the health system cited the declining delivery numbers and staffing shortages as reasons for the facility's permanent shutdown.

Maternity care deserts remain a nationwide issue

A study by the nonprofit March of Dimes (MOD) found that 36 percent of all U.S. counties are now considered maternity care deserts (MCDs). These MCDs have no hospitals, birth centers and experienced medical professionals capable of providing obstetric healthcare. It also found that majority of these MCDs – 61.5 percent – are in rural regions, exacerbating the challenges faced by mothers-to-be in remote areas.

The MOD report followed a report by the healthcare consulting company Chartis, which found that 217 maternity wards in hospitals across the country have closed since 2011. Just like the aforementioned study, many of those closures were in rural areas and several have happened within the last year. (Related: Miscarriage, stillbirth rates exploding worldwide as depopulation continues unabated.)

The ongoing closure of maternity wards and obstetric care facilities in different local hospitals has serious implications for expectant mothers who lack access to appropriate medical care during pregnancy and childbirth. It could also worsen the already alarming rates of infant health issues and maternal mortality. Thus, medical professionals and experts emphasize that the absence of routine care throughout the pregnancy, birth and postpartum periods places both women and their infants at risk.

Renowned ob-gyn Dr. Amanda P. Williams, the medical director of the maternity support service Mahmee, stressed the importance of consistent and proper care to address and manage complications that may arise during pregnancy.

Maternal-fetal medicine physician Dr. Michael Cackovic noted that many health problems can happen after delivery. He said of the lack of maternity wards: "This is a threat to both mom and baby. If you look at maternal mortality over centuries, it started dropping once women started going to the hospital to deliver."

University of Minnesota professor Katy Kozhimannil stressed the importance of maintaining facilities for giving birth, even in low-volume hospitals. She explained: "It’s better to have a facility to give birth at than not to have anything at all."

Visit for more stories about maternity.

Watch Martin Brodel discussing a New York hospital being forced to stop delivering babies after maternity workers resigned over vaccine mandates there.

This video is from the Martin Brodel channel on

More related stories:

Birth rates plummet in Hungary due to mass covid "vaccinations," says MP.

DEPOPULATION: Maternity wards across America are closing down as birth rates collapse.

Study finds correlation between COVID-19 vaccines and plummeting birth rates in Europe, Australia and Asia.

EU countries with highest vaccination rates also have the highest excess mortality rates.

Sources include:

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