Maternal and Newborn Health Profile in a First Nations Community in Canada
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OBJECTIVES: We sought to characterize maternal health profiles and birth outcomes among First Nations people living in Southern Ontario. METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review of all 453 women from the Six Nations Reserve, Ontario, who were pregnant between 2005 and 2010. Maternal health behaviours, past medical history, physical measurements, birth outcomes, and newborn characteristics were abstracted. Key maternal and newborn characteristics were compared with those of a cohort of non-First Nations women recruited from nearby Hamilton, Ontario. RESULTS: The average age of women in the study cohort was 25.1 ± 6.2 (mean ± SD) years, and 75.8% were multiparous. The mean pre-pregnancy BMI was 28.3 ± 6.6 kg/m(2), and the average weight gain in pregnancy was 14.9 ± 8.3 kg. Mean weight gain during pregnancy was inversely associated with pre-pregnancy BMI, and 57.1% of women gained more than the recommended weight. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes was 4.7%, hypertension was present before or during pregnancy in 5.6%, and 35% used tobacco during pregnancy. The mean gestational age at delivery was 39.5 ± 1.7 weeks and the mean crude birth weight was 3619 ± 557 g. The main determinants of newborn weight included sex of the newborn, pre-pregnancy BMI, and weight gain during pregnancy. Compared with a contemporary cohort of 622 non-First Nations mothers and newborns, First Nations mothers were, on average, younger (25.1 vs. 32.1 years; P < 0.001), had a higher mean pre-pregnancy BMI (28.3 vs. 26.8 kg/m(2); P < 0.001), and were more likely to use tobacco during pregnancy (35.0% vs. 14.4%; P < 0.001). First Nations newborns had significantly higher mean birth weight (+176 grams) and length (+2.3 cm) than non-First Nations newborns. CONCLUSION: First Nations mothers from the Six Nations Reserve tended to have a high pre-pregnancy BMI, tended to gain more than the recommended weight during pregnancy, and commonly used tobacco during pregnancy. Programs to prevent overweight/obesity and excess weight gain during pregnancy and to minimize smoking are required among women of child-bearing age in this community.
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