A survey of a representative sample of births in France in 1976 showed that the great majority of women receive at least the minimum antenatal care laid down by law: 4% of women missed one of the three statutory visits linked to payment of the antenatal allowance and 6% missed the fourth visit that should take place in the ninth month. A smaller study conducted in two hospitals, one in the Paris region and the other in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, showed that the date of the first visit did not depend on a knowledge of the regulations. In one of the hospitals, where about 95% of women made more than the four statutory visits, the actual number of visits made was independent of a knowledge of the statutory number, In contrast, in the other hospital, where the mean number of visits was nearer to the statutory minimum, about half the women who said that four visits were required made exactly that number of visits and about half of those who gave three as the number made three visits.
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