The 87th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2018)

Differences in Obstetric Care Experiences Across Demographic Groups in Alabama


Department of Anthropology, The University of Alabama

April 14, 2018 , Zilker 1/2/3 Add to calendar

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Alabama had the United States’ worst infant mortality rate (IMR) in 2014. In 2015, the IMR for white residents was 5.2%, but among black and other residents it was 14.4% in Alabama. The goal of this project is to provide geographical data and case studies to better understand the implications of Alabama’s IMR and to address factors in the overall gap in treatment between demographic groups. This project includes geographical analyses using rates of infant mortality by county, location of hospitals with and without obstetric centers, distribution of midwifery services, rural and low income communities across Alabama, and demographics including race. Data suggest the IMR tends to be highest in rural counties, and especially those with fewer hospitals in the region. Additionally, those counties with more demographic minorities tend to have a higher IMR than those that do not, and tend to be farther from hospitals with obstetric centers. Case studies of birth experiences from low-income minority women in rural areas were compared to case studies of higher income women from urban and suburban areas. Obstetric care experience satisfaction for rural-dwelling low-income minority women was lower than urban- and suburban-dwelling high-income women. These narratives, when combined with geographical analyses, elucidate treatment gaps in underserved populations that inform where improvement can be made in Alabama’s obstetric care.