Infant mortality sees significant increase in Georgia

The toes of a baby peek out of a blanket at a hospital in McAllen, Texas. On Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the increase of U.S. infant mortality rate to 3% in 2022 — a rare increase in a death statistic that has been generally been falling for decades. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds Georgia is one of four states that saw a significant increase in infant mortality over the past year.

Dr. Helen Williams, a neonatologist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, said one problem is the lack of access to obstetric care. While many rural Georgia counties have no obstetrical provider, mothers in the city also struggle to find care.

Dr. Williams joined Monday’s edition of WABE’s “All Things Considered.”

Williams says healthcare providers are also working to understand persistent racial disparities, as Black mothers face almost double the risk of losing an infant as their white counterparts.

“Even in the metro Atlanta area, we still see that if you’re in an underserved community that it’s becoming challenging, and the closure of the Wellstar AMC and Wellstar AMC south campus has stressed the system immensely,” said Dr. Williams.

Christopher Alston contributed to this report.