South Carolina lacking in healthcare for pregnant women; 14 counties have no OB-GYN
WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCIV) - Dr. Todd Allen is one of two obstetricians at Walterboro OBGYN.
He says it’s the only OBGYN office in Colleton County.
There are 14 counties in South Carolina that do not have an obstetrician practicing in the area.
Dr. Allen says the lack of access to prenatal care can lead to pre-term births.
Allen also says many mothers also do not have access to primary care.
“It's a nationwide problem. But it's hitting the rural counties the hardest,” say Dr. Allen. “We see a lot of diabetics, hypertension...mothers can’t afford to get to a doctor regularly and all that impacts their prenatal care it makes their pregnancy a higher risk,” says Allen.
Liz Padgett is a new mom.
She gave birth to her daughter on October 24.
She lives in Smoke, a town on the outskirts of Colleton County.
She says Walterboro OBGYN is the closest obstetrician to her. She and her husband drive 45 minutes for appointments.
Padgett grew more concern as her due date got closer.
"We were scared if I did go into labor early how fast we could make it to the hospital, If we needed to call an ambulance. It was really scary towards the end of my pregnancy,” says Padgett.
Dr. Allen says the lack of prenatal heath care comes down to money.
“I cringe when I see cutback to Medicaid to pregnant moms being discussed”, says Allen.
Overall, South Carolina has a failing grade for preterm births.
The March of Dimes gave the Palmetto State a “D" grade.
Lowcountry doctors say the lack of access to prenatal care is one main reason.
The preterm birth rate is 11.2 percent and has risen slightly in recent years.