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New report sounds the alarm on rising infant and maternal death in Idaho

Asian Female doctor pediatrician holding stethoscope checkup child newborn baby boy patient visit doctor with mother at home, mom protection children medical care concept.
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The report shows that in 2022, 1 in 5 pregnant women did not receive prenatal care in their first trimester.

Health care advocates are sounding the alarm on rising infant and maternal mortality rates in Idaho.

The advocacy group Idaho Kids Covered released a reportshowing infant mortality rates increased by 18% from 2019 to 2021. During that same time, maternal mortality increased by 121%.

“It's a really scary time to be a pregnant woman in the state of Idaho,” said Ivy Smith, a Health Policy specialist who worked on the report.

“We originally published this same report last year, and even then the trends were alarming,” she said.

“But now things are going from bad to worse. We've continued to track these trends, and almost every single health data metric we cited in our last report has gotten worse.”

The report shows that in 2022, 1 in 5 pregnant women did not receive prenatal care in their first trimester. State Medicaid covers postpartum care for two months, while most states follow women for a year after birth.

In July, the task force that studies maternal deaths in Idaho was dissolved after lawmakers declined to fund it.

“The Maternal Mortality Review Committee was the only method of collecting the data needed to improve our health systems and prevent maternal deaths,” she said, adding Idaho was one of the only states in the US to forgo this kind of committee.

The review committee’s final report released this year found 88% of maternal deaths in the state were preventable.

As the Canyon County reporter, I cover the Latina/o/x communities and agricultural hub of the Treasure Valley. I’m super invested in local journalism and social equity, and very grateful to be working in Idaho.

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