Maternal and Infant Health

Travel Time to Delivery Facilities for Arkansas Mothers

June 17, 2024


Jennifer Wessel, JD, MPH
Senior Policy Analyst and Data Privacy Officer


ACHI Communications

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Closures of labor and delivery services at Arkansas hospitals in recent years have led to longer travel times for many Arkansas mothers. Increased travel times to delivery facilities have been associated with higher risks of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. ACHI reviewed data on birth events occurring from 2016 to 2022 to estimate the travel times to delivery facilities for Arkansas mothers.

Our findings are presented in this infographic, which focuses on what we have identified as the fourth step of a healthy birthing journey: accessing safe delivery options.

 Travel Time Analyses

  • The statewide median minutes traveled to delivery facilities in 2022 was 16 minutes, but a look at mothers’ median travel times by county of residence found that travel times ranged from as short as 2 minutes to as long as 73 minutes.
  • In some counties, increases in median travel times for residents followed the closure of local labor and delivery units. The infographic highlights Columbia and Phillips counties as examples of this phenomenon.
  • The percentages of mothers facing extended travel times for delivery services have increased, with 28% of mothers traveling 30 minutes or more in 2022, up from 26% in 2016, and 8% of mothers traveling 60 minutes or more in 2022, up from 7% in 2016.

The data sources for these analyses were Arkansas Department of Health birth records (for in-state births) and the Arkansas Healthcare Transparency Initiative’s All-Payer Claims Database (for out-of-state births). Travel times were estimated using mothers’ home ZIP codes and the addresses of delivery facilities.

See more information about maternal and infant heath in Arkansas on our topic page.


    1 Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform. (2024, April). Addressing the crisis in rural maternity care.

    2 Minion, S. C., Krans, E. E., Brooks, M. M., Mendez, D. D., & Haggerty, C. L. (2022). Association of driving distance to maternity hospitals and maternal and perinatal outcomes. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 140(5), 812–819.

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    4 Brigance, C., Lucas, R., Jones, E., Davis, A., Oinuma, M., Mishkin, K., & Henderson, Z. (2022). Nowhere to go: Maternity care deserts across the U.S. March of Dimes.

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