A study was carried out on representative samples of 11 254 births in France in 1972 and 4685 births in 1976. Women were interviewed after delivery to obtain information about the medical care they had received during pregnancy. Inadequate antenatal care was defined as: first antenatal visit after the first trimester of pregnancy, or total number of visits fewer than the required minimum, or no visit to an obstetrician or the hospital maternity team. In 1972, the problem of inadequate care occurred mainly in very young women, or in those of high parity or with short birth intervals when the father's social class had been taken into account. Social status was also an important factor independently of a woman's demographic characteristics. These inequalities persisted in 1976 despite the policy adopted in 1972 to improve antenatal care for high-risk women.
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