Maternal and Newborn Health - Statistics in Niagara

A child's healthy development begins with the mother's health. A healthy start during the pregnancy influences infancy, childhood and adulthood.

Many factors can affect pregnancy and childbirth, including age, weight (before and during pregnancy), access to health-care, exposure to substances and others. Infant and child health are influenced by several factors, such as education, family income, breastfeeding, and the physical and mental health of parents and caregivers. Promoting healthy pregnancies and wellbeing of the mother influences the health and development of the child.

Pregnancies and Births Top of Page

There are around 4,000 women in Niagara who give birth every year. In 2017, there were 4,047 women who gave birth (live births or stillbirths), which is similar to other years.

From a total of 4,105 births, 4,089 were live births, while there were 16 stillbirths (0.4%). Of the 4,105 total births, 3,989 were singleton births (97.2%) and 116 were multiples (2.8%).

Teen pregnancies are pregnancies in women between the ages of 15 and 19. Across Niagara, teen pregnancies have declined over the past years. In 2017, 2.7% of all pregnant women were 15 to 19 years of age, compared to2.6% in 2016, 2.7% in 2015, and 3.7% in 2014. However, compared to Ontario (1.7% in 2017), the rate of teen pregnancies in Niagara is higher. Most pregnant women in Niagara are 25 to 34 years old (64.4% in 2017), which is similar to Ontario.

Pregnancies and Live Births (2013-2017)

Source: Better Outcomes Registry Network (BORN) [2013-2017]. Date extracted: June 20, 2018

Distribution of Age Amongst Pregnant Women (2016 - 2017)

Source: Better Outcomes Registry Network (BORN) [2013-2017]. Date extracted: June 20, 2018


Maternal Characteristics Top of Page

The health of the mother is an important predictor for the health and development of the child. Healthy pre-pregnancy weights as well as weight gain during pregnancy are important indicators of a healthy pregnancy.

In Niagara, 5.2% of women reported being underweight in 2017, which is higher than 2016 (4.9%), but is slightly lower than Ontario overall. However, 48.5% reported being overweight or obese in 2017 in Niagara, which is higher than Ontario.

Mental health concerns have also been increasing, with 14.3% of women reporting at-least one mental health concern in 2013, compared to 18.3% of women in 2016, which is similar to Ontario. From the conditions reported in 2017, 12.9% of women reported to have anxiety, 9.5% reported to have depression, while 1.8% reported a history of post-partum depression. It is important to note that the mental health conditions can be self-reported or diagnosed, and are likely to be under-reported.

Pre-pregnancy Body Mass Index Amongst Pregnant Women (2016 - 2017)

Source: Better Outcomes Registry Network (BORN) [2013-2017]. Date extracted: June 20, 2018

Mental Health Concerns amongst Pregnant Women (2013-2017)

Source: Better Outcomes Registry Network (BORN) [2013-2016]. Date extracted: June 20, 2018


Substance Use Top of Page

Substance use (cigarettes, alcohol and drugs) during pregnancy has an impact on both the health of the mother and the health, development and safety of the child.

Although smoking during pregnancy has been decreasing slightly, 11.4% of pregnant women in 2017 reported that they smoked at all during pregnancy, which is higher than Ontario overall (9.0%). From those that did smoke during pregnancy in 2017, 58.6% smoked less than 10 cigarettes a day, 34.6% smoked 10 to 20 cigarettes a day, and 4.8% smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy has increased slightly over the past few years. In 2017, 1.6% of pregnant women reported that they were drank alcohol during their pregnancy, which is lower than Ontario overall (2.7%).

Other drug use, although low, has increased slightly. In 2017, 2.5% of pregnant women reported that they were used one or more drugs during pregnancy, which is similar to Ontario overall (3.4%). The most common drug used was cannabis (1%).

It is important to note that all substance use is self-reported, and is likely to be under-reported.

Substance Use and Exposure amongst Pregnant Women (2013-2017)

Source: Better Outcomes Registry Network (BORN) [2013-2017]. Date extracted: June 20, 2018


Infant Feeding Top of Page

Breastfeeding has many benefits, including protection from illness, and healthy growth and development. Health Canada recommends exclusive breastfeeding (breast-milk only, no supplements) for the first six months of life.

In Niagara, rates of intention to breastfeed exclusively have decreased slightly, from 87.9% in 2013 to 84.3% in 2017, which is similar to Ontario (81.6%). Exclusive breastfeeding at discharge from hospital has remained similar over time with 60.5% of women exclusively breastfeeding at discharge in 2013, compared to 59.8% in 2017, which is less than Ontario (61.8%).

Exclusive Breastfeeding Intention and at Discharge amongst Mothers (2013-2017)

Source: Better Outcomes Registry Network (BORN) [2013-2017]. Date extracted: June 20, 2018


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