Eight Postpartum Support Programs in Rural Communities Across the United States


In 2021, nearly 500,000 births occurred in rural communities in the United States. The postpartum period that follows childbirth involves many physical, mental, and emotional changes and can pose challenges to the health and well-being of the birthing person. These challenges may be more complicated to address in rural areas, where access to health care services is limited.

This case study series highlights locally focused organizations working to improve postpartum health for rural residents across the United States. Researchers conducted interviews with eight unique organizations working in their local rural communities to support postpartum health. These include programs serving rural communities in Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, South Carolina, and Washington.

Key Findings:

  • Access to mental health services, appropriate clinical care, emotional and logistical support, and social services during the postpartum period is critical for the mental and physical health of rural parents and families, and is essential for efforts to reduce maternal mortality.
  • Despite challenges related to transportation, stigma, isolation, and affordability, the organizations profiled here innovate, including in their program offerings and finance models, and collaborate with local and national partners to provide a variety of critical resources to postpartum families in their rural communities.
  • Each organization expressed the importance of stable, secure funding for their work.
University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
Mariana Tuttle, Phoebe Chastain, Julia Interrante, Carrie Henning-Smith, Katy Backes Kozhimannil