Between 2000 and 2017, the share of women of childbearing age living more than 30 minutes from a maternity hospital increased by a third. This is the finding of the Directorate of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics (DREES), in a new study published on July 29, 2021. It thus estimates at around 7% the proportion of women of childbearing age. living more than 30 minutes from a maternity hospital, and to 1 to 2% those living more than 45 minutes from a maternity hospital. A figure that has also increased by around 40% in 7 years.
For DREES, this observation results from two opposite effects: “The evolution of the distribution of women of childbearing age in the territory has rather led to a move closer to maternity wards, but at the same time, many maternity wards have closed since 2000 and this latter effect prevails.. ”
At the departmental level, the Drees reports a contrasting situation. There is thus departments such as Lot, Nièvre or Cantal, or the effect of the closures of small maternity hospitals had a significant effect on the access time to such an establishment. In the Lot, the percentage of women of childbearing age living more than 45 minutes from a maternity hospital thus increased from 6% in 2000 to 24% in 2017, following the closure of three of the four maternity hospitals in 2000. .
Conversely, in Corsica and in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, more women live near hospitals and clinics, which has reduced their travel time to these structures.
La Drees specifies that accessibility to a type 3 maternity hospital, that is to say able to take care of pregnancies at risk and having a neonatal intensive care unit, remained stable over the period 2000-2017. In eleven departments, however, all women of childbearing age reside more than 45 minutes from a maternity hospital of this size. The departments of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Aveyron, Cantal, Corse-du-Sud, Haute-Corse, Indre, Lot, Lot are concerned. -et-Garonne, Lozère and Nièvre.
In case of need for hospitalization in these type 3 maternities, the future and young parents of these departments then face difficulties, both to organize themselves and to ensure an assiduous presence with their newborn, in the event of premature birth.