The regionalization of perinatal care in France--description of a missing policy

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1995 Aug;61(2):99-103. doi: 10.1016/0301-2115(95)02107-i.


This paper reviews published data on the organization and evaluation of regionalized perinatal care programs in countries where they exist and describes those elements presently lacking in France. The advantage of maternal compared to neonatal transport is described vis-85-vis its effect on perinatal deaths as well as neonatal and developmental handicaps. Most studies describe a major advantage of maternal transfers, with less perinatal deaths (including stillbirths and neonatal deaths) and lower rates of severe developmental handicaps. In contrast, French publications show that widespread regionalization of perinatal care does not exist in spite of proposals advocating this concept made more than 20 years ago. Thus, many deliveries of less than 33 weeks gestation length or/and less than 1500 g birth weight take place in maternity sites without adequate neonatal care, despite ample evidence that such infants are at much greater risk of perinatal death or severe handicaps at 2 years of age after transfer than if they had been born in a perinatal center. For these reasons, professional organizations in France should choose to implement a policy of maternal transfers as a major effort in the near future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Female
  • France
  • Gestational Age
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Patient Transfer
  • Perinatal Care*
  • Pregnancy
  • Regional Health Planning*
  • Risk Factors