Can family doctors deliver rural America from its maternal health crisis?

Can family doctors deliver rural America from its maternal health crisis?

By Sarah Jane Tribble

KFF Health News

Zita Magloire carefully adjusted a soft measuring tape across Kenadie Evans’ pregnant belly.

Determining a baby’s size during a 28-week obstetrical visit is routine. But Magloire, a family physician trained in obstetrics, knows that finding the mother’s uterus and, thus, checking the baby, can be tricky for inexperienced doctors.

“Sometimes it’s, like, off to the side,” Magloire said, showing a visiting medical student how to press down firmly and complete the hands-on exam. She moved her finger slightly to calculate the fetus’s height: “There she is, right here.”

Evans smiled and later said Magloire made her “comfortable.”

The 21-year-old had recently relocated from Louisiana to southeastern Georgia, two states where both maternal and infant mortality are persistently high. She moved in with her mother and grandfather near Cairo, an agricultural community where the hospital has a busy labor and delivery unit. Magloire and other doctors at the local clinic where she works deliver hundreds of babies there each year.

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