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Buekens, Pierre & Miller, C. Arden (1996). Prenatal Care in Occupied Belgium during the Second World War. European Journal of Public Health, 6(2), 105-108.


We sought to investigate whether programmes were designed to protect the health of pregnant women in Belgium from 1940 to 1945. We analysed archives and found that pre-natal care was actively promoted. The proportion of mothers attending public pre-natal clinics increased from 7.5% in 1940 to 14.6% in 1942. Women receiving pre-natal care from public or private providers were entitled to receive food supplements, vitamins, calcium and iron from the fourth month of pregnancy. Other benefits included priority cards to avoid queues, and supplements for coal and linen. In 1944, the Maternal and Child Care Organization had a network of 274 pre-natal clinics, 1,382 well-baby clinics and 389 home surveillance centres. We conclude that strong maternal and child health programmes were developed in spite of the German occupation and the wartime conditions.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

European Journal of Public Health


Buekens, Pierre
Miller, C. Arden