Course Overview


This Course will provide an overview of the impact a high BMI has upon community health, pregnancy, labour, birth and breastfeeding.

Learning Outcomes

  • Intervene in weight management early by identifying the different classes of obesity through effective assessment of women with high BMIs
  • Use knowledge of the link between high BMI and reproductive problems to appropriately manage obese women throughout their pregnancy
  • Correlate potential adverse pregnancy and labour outcomes with strategies to educate women about the impact obesity may have on their pregnancy

Topics include:

  • Definition of BMI
  • Link between high BMI, insulin resistance, androgenisation and PCOS
  • Effects of high BMI on efficient labour
  • Engaging the high BMI woman in education and interventions

Target audience

All health professionals working with women throughout their reproductive years, especially midwives, nurses and lactation consultants.


Review the potential adverse effects high maternal BMI has upon reproduction, in order to ensure health professionals are able to educate their patients accordingly to achieve positive health outcomes.


It is widely accepted that there is an epidemic of obesity amongst women and men of reproductive age. An Australian study of more than 14,000 pregnant women found that 34% were overweight, obese or morbidly obese. Numerous studies have demonstrated the adverse effects of obesity on the reproductive process, with evidence linking preconception maternal obesity and long-term disease in offspring. Maternal obesity is also linked to higher rates of caesarean section, as well as high-risk obstetrical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Additionally, a high body mass index (BMI) during the reproductive process adversely affects pregnancy outcomes, such as increasing the risk of neonatal mortality and malformations. As midwives and nurses are likely to care for women of reproductive age they must be aware of and educate about the potential adverse effects a high BMI can have on health, conception and pregnancy.

Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.