Over 50% of pregnant women in Scotland 'overweight or obese'

Just over 50,000 babies were born in Scotland in the year to March 2019, which equates to roughly one baby born every 10 minutes.
Just over 50,000 babies were born in Scotland in the year to March 2019, which equates to roughly one baby born every 10 minutes.
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The number of mothers smoking during pregnancy is at the lowest level on record but more than half of pregnant women are overweight or obese, according to NHS Scotland figures.

Official statistics show the proportion of pregnant women smokers in Scotland has fallen year-on-year since 1997-98, down from 30.7 per cent to 14.6 per cent in 2018-19.

Just over 50,000 babies were born in Scotland in the year to March 2019, which equates to roughly one baby born every 10 minutes.

The ISD Scotland research shows 52.7 per cent of pregnant women are overweight or obese, with one in four now classified as clinically obese.

The statistics also reveal more than a third of babies (33.5 per cent) are now delivered by caesarean section - the highest proportion on record.

Deprivation continues to be a key factor influencing the health of mothers and babies across Scotland, according to the report, with mothers from poorer areas more likely to smoke, be overweight, book late for antenatal care and deliver their babies early compared to mothers from less deprived areas.

The gap in maternal body mass index (BMI) between mothers from deprived and well-off areas is also growing, according to the figures.

More women are giving birth at older ages than at any point on record, with the figures for 2018-19 showing an increasing proportion of first births by mothers aged 35 years and over (15 per cent).

In 1990-91, the proportion of new mothers aged 35 years and over was 4 per cent.

Statistics about birth defects found 1,640 babies affected by a serious congenital anomaly were identified among pregnancies ending in Scotland in 2017.

Approximately one in every 40 babies born alive had a serious congenital anomaly, with heart defects the most common issue, affecting 448 babies across Scotland during the year - 84.3 per 10,000 births.