Growing New Mexico maternity care deserts bring long drives, increased worry

Christina spent much of 2023 traveling to Santa Fe for medical care during her pregnancy. She’d leave home about two hours before each doctor’s visit for the roughly 100-mile one way trip from her home in northern New Mexico’s rural Mora county, in case accidents or construction caused traffic slowdowns. Two years ago, she would have received her care 30 miles down the road at Alta Vista Hospital in Las Vegas. But the hospital closed its delivery care unit in June 2022. 

“People say it’s because they weren’t getting paid enough, I don’t really know why but they closed,” said Christina, who asked New Mexico In Depth not to use her last name to protect her and her newborn’s privacy. “So I have to go to Santa Fe.”

Her high-risk pregnancy forced the trip to Santa Fe three times a week in her final months, with transportation costs running about $150 a week.