Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
We’re in our Spring Fundraiser and you can help! Support KSMU programming today!

Map of facilities that offer higher levels of care for pregnant women and infants is now on DHSS website

A pregnant women stands in front of a window
Dercio Comuana
/
Pixabay
A pregnant women stands in front of a window

The new webpage is designed to provide better outcomes for moms and babies.

A new webpage on the on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website helps women choose a facility for giving birth.

In 2018, the Missouri General Assembly passed legislation allowing DHSS to establish criteria for levels of maternal care and neonatal care designations for birthing facilities. Since then, DHSS officials say dozens of Missouri hospitals and providers have completed the developed designation process, and they were able to launch the new webpage.

It outlines the criteria developed for both maternal and neonatal levels of care and provides a map of the facilities by their designation level.

Ashlie Otto is maternal mortality coordinator for DHSS.

“There’s lots of studies that reveal that delivering in a high level facility improves outcomes for both mom and baby," said Otto.

Risk-appropriate care is one strategy DHSS is using to improve those health outcomes, according to the agency.

"Integrating this strategy into a coordinated system helps to ensure pregnant women and infants at high risk of complications receive care at a birth facility that is best prepared to meet their health needs," DSS said in a statement.

Otto hopes that both pregnant women and providers will use the site to determine where a higher level of care facility is and work out barriers to access, such as transportation, ahead of a birth.

"There are pockets of the state that folks may have to travel a good distance to get to any facility, let a lone a facility that may have, for example, intensive care units for newborns if they are needing that higher level of care," said Otto, "and so, we wanted to make sure that this is just a tool for those individuals and for healthcare providers to be able to work through some of those barriers."

Missouri hasthe seventh highest maternal mortality rate in the U.S.Each year, an average of 61 women die while pregnant or within a year of pregnancy. And Black women are at least three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.

According to Otto, it’s imperative that women immediately contact their healthcare provider when they find out they’re pregnant. She said, the earlier a woman gets care, the more likely she and the baby will have a good outcome.

You can access the new webpage at health.mo.gov/perinatalcare.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.