AUGUSTA, GA. (WJBF) – The maternal and infant mortality rate is rising in the U.S. Local care professionals share things women and families can do to help reduce those risks.

“We try to make sure that we do a lot of education while they’re here and we’re going to make sure that they have those resources that they need and we kind of give brochures and make sure they can always come back,” Doctors Hospital- RN/MSN Clinical Nurse Manager Nikki Dundy said.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, within a three year span the death rate for all women after delivery has spiked.

“They’ve gone up a little over 36 percent since 2018. So, from 2018 to 2020. So, the rate per hundred thousand went from 17.4 to 32.9 and that is just abysmal in this country,” Georgia Department of Public Health- District Nursing Director Rebecca Kershner said.

But the question is “why?” 

“Some of the highest causes of maternal mortality were hemorrhage, embolism, coronary cardiovascular diseases, cardiomyopathy preeclampsia and eclampsia and of all of those, all but the embolisms– which is a blood clot– were found to be preventable,” Georgia Department of Public Health- District Nursing Director Rebecca Kershner said.

Some health care providers say prevention could be as simple as trust.

“Might be a trust issue that they might not trust their doctors if they’re not the same color as them or look like them. It’s also with women– they might not trust male doctors. So. it could be the race and also the gender, sometimes they feel like they’re not being heard,” Dundy said.

Health Department District nursing Director Rebecca Kershner says a proactive approach to health is the best medicine.

“Before you decide to get pregnant, work on your health. So, the best thing you can do is exercise, eat right, if you’re overweight, lose weight, if you have other issues like hypertension or diabetes make sure those are well-controlled and all that before you decide to get pregnant.”

A Senate bill called Healthy Moms & Babies Act aims to help improve maternal and child healthcare. 

“It’s gonna create, kind of a maternity health home, so that they will coordinate care between primary care, acute care, long-term care, prenatal care,” Kershner said.

While May is women’s health month, care professionals say this is an issue that should be focused on every day and every month, and if you’re interested in learning more about different resources visit Doctors Hospital’s Center for Women.