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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 96, Issue 3, pp 234–238 | Cite as

Changes in Maternal Characteristics in Nova Scotia, Canada from 1988 to 2001

  • Deshayne B. Fell
  • K. S. Joseph
  • Linda Dodds
  • Alexander C. Allen
  • Krista Jangaard
  • Michiel Van den Hof
Article

Abstract

Background

Maternal characteristics such as age, parity, smoking status, pre-pregnancy weight and pregnancy weight gain have changed in many industrialized countries in recent years. Many of these changes have not been adequately described at a population level. The purpose of this study was to describe recent trends in selected maternal characteristics in Nova Scotia.

Methods

Data from a population-based perinatal database were used to examine changes in maternal age, parity, smoking, pre-pregnancy weight, delivery weight and pregnancy weight gain among all deliveries between 1988 and 2001.

Results

The proportion of deliveries to women ≥35 years increased by 84% over the study period from 7.0% in 1988–1991 to 12.9% in 1998–2000, while deliveries to women ≥40 years increased by more than 100%. The number of nulliparous women ≥35 years also increased significantly. The overall prevalence of smoking decreased from 32.7% in 1988–1991 to 25.1% in 1998–2001, however the prevalence of smoking among women ≤20 years did not change over the study period and was almost 50%. The proportion of women with a pre-pregnancy weight of ≥90 kilograms (kg) increased by 165% from 4.1% in 1988–1991 to 10.7% in 1998–2001. The proportion of women with pregnancy weight gain of ≤7 kg and ≥18 kg increased by 37% and 13%, respectively.

Conclusion

Dramatic changes have occurred in several important maternal characteristics and there is evidence of ongoing change. Continuation of these trends is likely to impact on future obstetric practice and perinatal health.

MeSH terms:

Maternal age parity smoking body weight trends 

Résmé

Contexte

Les caractéristiques maternelles comme l’âge, le rang des naissances, l’usage du tabac, le poids avant la grossesse et le gain de poids durant la grossesse ont changé dans de nombreux pays industrialisés ces dernières années. Beaucoup de ces changements n’ont pas été convenablement décrits pour l’ensemble de la population. Notre étude visait donc à décrire les tendances récentes de certaines caractéristiques maternelles en Nouvelle-Écosse.

Méthode

À partir de données extraites d’une base de données périnatales représentatives, nous avons examiné l’évolution de l’âge des mères, du rang des naissances, du tabagisme, du poids avant la grossesse, du poids à l’accouchement et du gain de poids durant la grossesse pour tous les accouchements survenus entre 1988 et 2001.

Résultats

La proportion de femmes de plus de 35 ans ayant accouché a augmenté de 84 % sur la période de l’étude, passant de 7,0 % en 1988–1991 à 12,9 % en 1998–2000, et la proportion des femmes de plus de 40 ans ayant accouché a augmenté de plus de 100 %. Le nombre de nullipares de plus de 35 ans a également augmenté. La prévalence globale du tabagisme a diminué, passant de 32,7 % en 1988–1991 à 25,1 % en 1998–2001, mais elle est restée inchangée chez les femmes de moins de 20 ans, à près de 50 %, pendant cette période. La proportion des femmes pesant plus de 90 kg avant la grossesse a augmenté de 165 %, passant de 4,1 % en 1988–1991 à 10,7 % en 1998–2001. La proportion des femmes ayant pris moins de 7 kg ou plus de 18 kg durant la grossesse a augmenté de 37 % et de 13 %, respectivement.

Conclusion

Plusieurs caractéristiques maternelles importantes ont changé de façon spectaculaire, et les données semblent faire état d’une évolution continue. Si ces tendances se maintiennent, elles pourraient avoir un effet sur la pratique future de l’obstétrique et sur la santé périnatale.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deshayne B. Fell
    • 1
  • K. S. Joseph
    • 1
  • Linda Dodds
    • 1
  • Alexander C. Allen
    • 2
  • Krista Jangaard
    • 2
  • Michiel Van den Hof
    • 3
  1. 1.Perinatal Epidemiology Research Unit, Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and PediatricsDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Neonatal Pediatrics, Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyDalhousie UniversityCanada

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