STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to compare the social characteristics, the pregnancy outcome, and the antenatal care of women in France who did not receive maternity benefits to women who did. These benefits (860 FF, approx 86 pounds per month) are given to every pregnant woman, starting in the second trimester. Payments are made on the condition that at least three antenatal visits are made, the first being before the end of the first trimester. DESIGN--The study involved a random sample of women who were interviewed after delivery during their stay in hospital. Data on pregnancy outcome were collected from medical records. SETTING--The study was carried out in four public maternity units in different regions of France. PARTICIPANTS--1692 women were included in the analysis (86.8% of the selected sample). Of 257 exclusions, 40 had multiple pregnancies, 189 had missing data, and 28 did not answer the question concerning maternity benefits. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--4.3% of the women did not receive any maternity benefits. These women lived in poorer social conditions than the women who received the benefits. They had a higher preterm delivery rate, after controlling for risk factors in a logistic regression. Women without maternity benefits were characterised by a lower level of care, yet the majority began their antenatal care during the first trimester or had more than six visits. CONCLUSIONS--Not receiving maternity benefits during pregnancy is an index of an underprivileged situation and a risk factor for pregnancy outcome.
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