Jean-Luc Boujon (correspondent in Burgundy) 06:11, 05 June 2023

In Autun, in Saône-et-Loire, the maternity delivery room closed at the beginning of the year due to a lack of staff. However, in the heart of this region of the Morvan, the creation of an obstetrical Smur has made it possible not to leave women alone who must give birth. This is even a first in France.

Maternity closures are sometimes legion in some small and medium-sized towns due to a lack of staff. This is particularly the case in Autun in Saône-et-Loire where the maternity delivery room closed its doors at the beginning of the year. But thanks to the creation of an obstetrical Smur, these women no longer have to give birth alone, without assistance. A truck travels with nurses and a midwife directly to the main stakeholders so that they can give birth at home.


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This white van, marked Smur, is therefore both an emergency vehicle and a mobile mini-maternity, explains Anne-Cécile Doridot, midwife at the hospital of Autun. "There is a stretcher, we have a respirator and also everything that allows us to put an infusion. We also have this device that is used to ventilate the baby or help him breathe when needed. We also added an ultrasound machine, which is right there. And a cardiotocograph to record the baby's well-being and also the mother's contractions. In the end, we have everything we normally use in the delivery room of a maternity hospital."

Photo credit: Jean-Luc Boujon/Europe 1

A first in France that sounded like a necessity

The vehicle will be able to intervene far away, around Autun, in isolated areas of the Morvan, sometimes more than an hour's drive. Even if everything will not be possible, explains Marie-Laure Labruyère, health executive in the emergency room. "We are equipped to give birth at home. After that, we will not be able to do a caesarean section or an epidural. The woman who has given birth or is about to give birth will be cared for under 'normal' conditions. And in case of emergency, we will take him, with the truck, to the nearest maternity hospital."


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With the closure of the maternity delivery room, this obstetrical Smur sounded like a necessity. "We have a significant shortage of doctors here, including hospital doctors. And so we could not keep our delivery plateau whose activity was suspended by the ARS last December. And so this new model, this obstetrical Smur will keep maximum security for the follow-up of women and their pregnancy plans." This unprecedented device in France will be closely scrutinized in many small towns where maternity hospitals have closed in recent years.