Objective: To study trends in the main indicators of health, medical practices and risk factors in France.
Population and method: We collected data from samples of all births in France during one week in 1995 (n=13318), 1998 (n=13718), 2003 (n=14737) and 2010 (n=14903) and have compared them.
Results: Between 1995 and 2010, maternal age and body mass index increased steadily, but tobacco use decreased. In 2010, 39.4% of pregnant women had a visit with a midwife in a maternity unit, versus 26.6% in 2003. Deliveries occurred in large public hospitals more and more frequently. The increase in caesarean sections was no longer significant between 2003 and 2010. In general, medical decisions during pregnancy and delivery were closer to professional recommendations in 2010 than in earlier years. Live births before 37 weeks increased steadily from 5.4% in 1995 to 6.6% in 2010, but the proportion of birth weights below 2500g or the 10th percentile stopped increasing after 2003.
Conclusion: Routine national perinatal surveys highlight major trends in maternal characteristics, obstetric practices, organisation of services, and perinatal health.
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