maternal health

Rephel Martin / Tomeka Isaac

Tomeka Isaac and her husband tried to have a baby for two years. The Denver, North Carolina, resident was 40 years old when she conceived and was at high risk of developing preeclampsia, a pregnancy-related condition that causes high blood pressure. She took the baby aspirin her doctor recommended and tried to do everything right.

Lilly Knoepp

  The closure of several labor and delivery units at hospitals across Western North Carolina means more mothers and their doctors are planning births differently.  


Dr. Suzanne Dixon has been an OBGYN with the Mountain Area Health Education Center for about 8 years. Most of the time she works in Asheville but she spends 2 days a week in Franklin at Mission Women’s Care. 

 “I’ve been the only one doing the women’s work at that practice,” says Dixon. 

Cass Herrington / BPR News


Numerous studies on childbirth in the US present a grim fact  -- racial disparities persist in the delivery room. Rates of maternal and infant mortality during childbirth are disproportionately higher among African American women in Buncombe County, and nationwide.  

That stark reality is what prompted a group of women in Asheville to organize and start a doula service for women of color and for women without the financial means.