Objective: To study trends in the main indicators of perinatal health, medical practices and risk factors in France since 1995.
Population and method: All live births during one week in 1995 (n=13,318), 2003 (n=14,737), 2010 (n=14,903) and 2016 (n=13,384). Data were from interviews of women in postpartum wards and from medical records and were compared between years.
Results: Between 1995 and 2016, maternal age and body mass index increased steadily. Pregnancies that occurred with use of contraception increased from 7.4% in 2010 to 9.3% in 2016. Smoking during pregnancy (16.6%) did not decrease since 2010. The frequency of more than three ultrasounds during pregnancy was 48.5% in 1995 and 74.7% in 2016. Deliveries in large public hospitals increased steadily. The caesarean section rate has been relatively stable since 2003 (20.4% in 2003, 21.1% in 2010 and 20.4% in 2016). The rate of induction of labour was 22% in 2010 and 2016. Overall, 83.8% of women had epidural analgesia/anaesthesia in 2016. Rates of pre-term birth in 2016 ranged from 7.5% among all live births to 6.0% among live born singletons; for singletons, this rate increased steadily from 1995 to 2016, whereas there was no clear trend for low birth weight. Exclusive breastfeeding decreased from 60.3% in 2010 to 52.2% in 2016.
Conclusion: Routine national perinatal surveys highlight successful policies and recommendations but also point out some health indicators, practices, preventive behaviours and risk factors that need special attention.
Keywords: Birth-weight; Delivery; Gestational age; Maternal characteristics; Prenatal care; Preventive behaviour.
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