Posted by: Wellness Centers of America | July 14, 2010

Obesity in Pregnancy Continues to be a National Health Problem

A Media Release from The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Findings from a study assessing the incidence and impact of pre-pregnancy maternal obesity on obstetric outcomes and proposed introduction of collaborative antenatal interventions to address the obesity issue will be discussed today at a national collaborative maternity services conference which is currently being held in Alice Springs,
Northern Territory.

Obesity is a growing national health problem that significantly contributes to the burden of disease in Australia. Over 50 per cent of adult female Australians are overweight or obese, and almost one in four are obese when they conceive.

‘Our study found a greater prevalence of adverse maternal outcomes among obese women. The risk of obstetric complications are increased in obese compared to non-obese women’, according to Dr Andrew Zuschmann.

‘We found the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus was doubled, and the risk of severe hypertensive disorders of pregnancy was increased 2.6 times. Macrosomia, induction of labour and emergency caesarean sections were observed to escalate with increasing maternal obesity.

We recommend that weight loss interventions should commence in the pre-pregnancy period and weight gain should continue to be monitored during pregnancy,’ said Dr
Zuschmann.

‘We hope this study will inspire a shift from the current reactive management of obesity in pregnancy to a more proactive approach in the future. Collaborative, multidisciplinary antenatal interventions to address the issue of excess maternal weight gain before and during pregnancy may lead to improved maternal and neonatal outcomes,’ said Dr Zuschmann today.

With a strong inter-professional program, the 3rd Biennial Breathing New Life into Maternity Care Multidisciplinary Conference is expected to attract over 400 health
professionals, including midwives, general practitioners, specialist obstetricians, aboriginal health workers, and other health service providers including health service managers and policy makers. The fundamental aim of this conference is to encourage midwives, specialist obstetricians and general practitioners to work together to ensure women receive the most appropriate and effective maternity care.

The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) is working in partnership with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Royal Australian and New
Zealand College of Obstetricians and gynecologists (RANZCOG). The theme of this conference is ‘working together, learning from each other’.

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