Hunter’s expectant mums lighting up at rates above national average

27/08/2018 Posted by admin

THE proportion of Hunter, New England and Central Coast women smoking during pregnancy is above the national average, but remains lower than in other regional areas.
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The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) will release on Thursday its Child and maternal health 2013–2015 report, which presents findings on four indicators measuring the health of babies and mothers: smoking during pregnancy, child and infant mortality, low birth weight babies and antenatal visits in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Nationally, infant death rates and the rate of women smoking during pregnancy are declining, while “relatively good”results for the rate of low birth weight babies and antenatal care are steady.

However, AIHW spokesperson Anna O’Mahony said, the positive trends are not seen equally across the 31 Primary Health Network areas.

“While nationally there has been a consistent decrease in the proportion of mothers smoking during pregnancy – falling from about one in sevenmothers in 2009 to one in 10in 2015 – rates in some PHN areas are nearly 18 times as high as in others,” shesaid.

“The other indicators also varied, but to a lesser extent.”

The report shows 15.4 per cent of Hunter, New England and Central Coast mothers smoked during pregnancy, compared with 11 per cent nationally and 17.4 per cent in regional areas.

A total of 64.6 per cent of the area’s mothers had an antenatal visit in their first trimester, against 62.7 per cent nationally and 65 per cent in regional areas.

The proportion of low birth weight babies in the area was 5.1 per cent compared to 4.9 per cent nationallyand 5.2 per cent in regional areas.

The area’s infant mortality rate was 5.1 per 1000, compared to 4.1 nationally and 4.9 in regional areas.

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