This Course will provide an overview of the impact a high BMI has upon community health, pregnancy, labour, birth and breastfeeding.
08 Jul 2018
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.
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.