Forgetful pregnancy. Pregnant woman. Maternity. Generic. Profile.
Forgetful pregnancy. Pregnant woman. Maternity. Generic. Profile.

REVEALED: Obesity and smoking rates for pregnant mums

MACKAY mothers are more likely to be overweight and smokers while pregnant, leading to riskier pregnancies and endangering the health of their newborns.

An investigation into 2247 births found a number of health risks facing women and their children in the Mackay Hospital and Health Services region, which includes Mackay, Bowen, Proserpine, Clermont, Collinsville, Dysart, Moranbah, Sarina, Glenden, Middlemount and Whitsunday health centres.

The Health of Queenslanders 2020 report said a quarter of Mackay mothers were obese, while more than one in 10 women smoked during the pregnancy.

These pregnancy risk factors have not improved since the 2018 report, which found similar smoking and obesity rates among mothers.

Clinical Director of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Dr George du Toit said there were serious risks associated with these health factors.

"The risk for mothers with diabetes includes excess weight gain and hypertension, or high blood pressure, which can lead to serious pregnancy complications," Dr du Toit said.

"Smoking contributes to poor maternal health and is related to increased miscarriage risk.

"Smoking can slow the growth of the baby and increase the risk of still birth, as well as result in long term neuro-developmental problems during childhood."

The Health of Queenslanders 2020 report said a quarter of Mackay mothers were obese, while one in 10 women smoked during the pregnancy.
The Health of Queenslanders 2020 report said a quarter of Mackay mothers were obese, while one in 10 women smoked during the pregnancy.

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The chief health officer report said Mackay newborns were also more likely to have a high birth weight, more than 4000g, compared to other Queensland children.

But Dr du Toit said the risks associated with heavier babies fell on their mothers, who would likely face a more difficult labour.

"They are also at risk of a prolonged and obstructed labour which can result in a caesarean section," he said.

"Higher birth weight babies are also at higher risk of birth related complications."

Dr du Toit said there were many factors that contribute to higher birth weight babies.

"Diabetes, a pregnancy that goes longer than term and mothers with a high body weight are the main factors in higher birth weight babies," he said.

"While the figure for Mackay is slightly higher than the Queensland average, it is not of significant concern.

"It needs to be noted that 10 per cent of healthy babies fall in the high birth weight category."

The chief health officer report said Mackay newborns were also more likely to have a high birth weight, more than 4000g, compared to other Queensland children
The chief health officer report said Mackay newborns were also more likely to have a high birth weight, more than 4000g, compared to other Queensland children

Dr du Toit said it was encouraging to see that Mackay mothers were consistent with their health checks, with a higher rate of eight or more antenatal visits.

"These visits are an opportunity for our midwives to provide education, support and early intervention for at-risk mums to help ensure their pregnancy and baby are as healthy as possible," he said.

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The health of Mackay region mothers and children

Provided by the Health of Queenslanders Report 2020

Number of births: 2247

Pre-term births: 173, or 7.7 per cent which was 1.3 per cent lower than the Queensland rate.

Low birthrate, less than 2500g: 152, or 6.8 per cent which was 0.4 per cent lower than the Queensland rate.

Healthy birthweight: 1863, or 82.9 per cent which was 0.2 per cent lower than the Queensland rate.

High birthweight, more than 4000g: 232, 10.6 per cent which was 0.6 per cent higher than the Queensland rate.

Smoking during pregnancy: 261, or 11.8 per cent which was 0.6 per cent higher than the Queensland rate.

Obese mothers: 561, or 25.4 per cent which was 4.1 per cent higher than the Queensland rate.

Eight or more antenatal visits: 1937, or 87.3 per cent which was 8.2 per cent higher than the Queensland rate.

Mothers aged 35 years or older: 342, or 15.4 per cent which was 6 per cent higher than the Queensland rate.


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