There were at least 191 cases where a pregnant woman being transported by ambulance was turned away by five or more hospitals between 2004 and 2006, a survey showed Thursday, underscoring the growing hardships of ambulance crews forced to scramble by the dearth of obstetricians in the country.

The number of cases in which one or more hospitals refused to admit pregnant women, including the 191, was 2,780 in the three-year period.

In the survey, carried out by Kyodo News, the 47 prefectural governments were asked about the current situation for emergency care services for pregnant women, and 27 had responded as of Thursday.