Two western Georgia hospitals have announced plans to merge childbirth services. Doctors Hospital is combining labor and delivery services with The Medical Center in Columbus, and will no longer deliver babies at its facility after Oct. 6.
Georgia’s birth rate is continuing to drop, mirroring a national trend and reflecting the still-sagging economy. Early data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show Georgia’s rate fell 5 percent last year, slightly faster than the nation’s 3 percent drop. The national birth rate peaked in 2007 and has been falling since.