Heather Harris
08 Jul 2018

Reproductive Health and High BMI

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


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


Heather Harris

Heather Harris first qualified as a midwife in 1970 and has worked in all areas of midwifery practice over the intervening years. She has served on a number of professional committees over the years, including ACMI (Vic) and ALCA (now LCANZ). She was involved in the successful BFHI accreditation for Mitcham Private Hospital, the RWH, and Box Hill hospital. She is a breastfeeding specialist who first qualified as an IBCLC in 1991. She has also been involved in the education of health professionals, presenting in all States of Australia, as well as in the US and Hong Kong. Since 2001, Heather has served as a midwife with Doctors Without Borders in the Ivory Coast, South Sudan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. She currently has her own private practice in lactation consultancy.


Jessica Widdison14 Sep 2018
Really good information relevant to my practice

Troy Dicks21 Aug 2018
Excellent overview

Diane Oldham20 Aug 2018
Interesting lecture

Troy King12 Aug 2018
Presenter was very knowledgeable in this area

Kylie Ralph09 Aug 2018
Thank you

Kate Couper22 Jul 2018
Good general overiew

Gregory Turner21 Jul 2018
A very interesting online course. The course content has revealed that obesity in pregnancy is multifactoral and there is no “quick fix”. This course is a must foe ongoing education for midwives, particularly those that no longer work in midwifery.

Jayne andrea Postill15 Jul 2018
The educator was very knowledgeable in her field of medicine. However, I found because she kept stuttering the message was a little lost in transition, it not draw my attention to what the educator was saying, however what she did say was excellent, but definitely not engaging in which it would have helped me understand what she did say.

Danielle cornish10 Jul 2018
Thoroughly enjoyed this presentation, increased my knowledge base and cemented explained information.

Andrea Clegg09 Jul 2018
Content was excellent and straight-forward

Course Overview

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.

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