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Pregnant women mostly overweight

Friday September 13th, 2019

The majority of newly pregnant women are now recorded as overweight or obese, according to a new analysis of maternity care in the UK.

Experts said that overall maternity care is improving – with significant variation among services.

The National Maternal and Perinatal Audit found growing rates of induction but reduced rates of babies born small after 40 weeks.

There were "wide" variations in rates of obstetric haemorrhage of 1500 ml or more – with rates varying between 0.7% and 5.4%.

Some 50.4% of women were recorded as overweight or obese when their pregnancy was booked – compared with 47.3% a year previously.

Some 25.8% of pregnancies ended with caesarean delivery – with the highest rate in Scotland at 30.5%.

Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “For the first time, over half of women are being recorded as overweight or obese during pregnancy. Every parent wants to give their baby the best start in life, however this raises several red flags for both women’s and children’s health.

“For mothers, being overweight during pregnancy comes with significant risks including gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, miscarriage and postpartum haemorrhage. Meanwhile, babies born to overweight parents are much more likely to become overweight children and are more likely to suffer from life-long conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

“Women must be supported before conception, during pregnancy and after birth to ensure the healthiest possible outcome for both themselves and their child. With the right support, it is possible to stop this dangerous cycle from being repeated.”

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists president Professor Lesley Regan welcomed the evidence of improved care.

Professor Regan said: National initiatives to improve maternal and neonatal care are making impressive headway to ensure services are as safe and personalised as possible for women, the vast majority of whom have a safe birth.

“But we must not be complacent since this report highlights marked variation in standards of care persist, particularly around birth complications, such as severe perineal tearing and obstetric haemorrhage."

Tags: Childbirth and Pregnancy | Diet & Food | NHS | Nursing & Midwifery | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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