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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 well-being 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 each year. In 2019, there were 4,121 women who gave birth (live births or stillbirths), which is similar to previous years.

From a total of 4,121 births, 4,088 (99.2 per cent) were live births, while there were 33 (0.8 per cent) stillbirths. Of the 4,121 total births, 3,982 were singleton births (97.4 per cent) and 139 were multiples (3.4 per cent).

Teen pregnancies are pregnancies in women between the ages of 15 and 19. Across Niagara, teen pregnancies have declined over the past years. In 2019, 1.4 per cent of all pregnant women were 15 to 19 years old, compared to 2.1 per cent in 2018, 2.6 per cent in 2017, and 2.6 per cent in 2016.

Compared to Ontario (1.3 per cent in 2019), the percentage of teen pregnancies in Niagara is similar. Most pregnant women in Niagara are 25 to 34 years old (66.3 per cent in 2019), which is similar to Ontario.

Pregnancies and live births (2015-2019)

Source: Better Outcomes Registry Network (BORN) [2015-2019]. Date extracted: Dec. 1, 2020

Distribution of age amongst pregnant women (2018 - 2019)

Source: Better Outcomes Registry Network (BORN) [2018-2019]. Date extracted: Dec. 1, 2020


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 and weight gain during pregnancy are important indicators of a healthy pregnancy.

In Niagara, 3.9 per cent of women reported being underweight in 2019, which is similar to 2018 (4.1 per cent) and slightly lower than Ontario. Moreover, 40.2 per cent reported being overweight or obese in 2019, which is higher than Ontario.

Mental health data has shown that 17.6 per cent of pregnant women reported at least one mental health concern in 2019 compared to 16.2 per cent in 2015. However, current numbers are still slightly lower compared to Ontario (19.4 per cent). From the conditions reported in 2019, 13.1 per cent of pregnant women reported having anxiety, 8.0 per cent reported having depression, while 1.8 per cent reported history of post-partum depression.

It's important to note that mental health conditions can be self-reported or diagnosed and are likely to be under-reported.

Pre-pregnancy body mass index amongst pregnant women (2018 - 2019)

Source: Better Outcomes Registry Network (BORN) [2018-2019]. Date extracted: Dec. 1, 2020

Mental health concerns amongst pregnant women (2015-2019)

Source: Better Outcomes Registry Network (BORN) [2015-2019]. Date extracted: Dec. 1, 2020


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 slightly decreasing, 9.3 per cent of pregnant women in 2019 reported that they smoked at least once during pregnancy, which is higher than Ontario (5.9 per cent). Among those that did smoke, 63.6 per cent smoked less than 10 cigarettes a day, 33.6 per cent smoked 10 to 20 cigarettes a day, and 2.8 per cent smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy has remained about the same over the past few years. In 2019, 1.8 per cent of pregnant women reported drinking during pregnancy, which is similar than Ontario (2.4 per cent).

Other drug use during pregnancy has decreased over the last few years. In 2019, 1.8 per cent of pregnant women reported using one or more drugs during pregnancy, which is similar to Ontario (2.1 per cent).

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

Substance use and exposure amongst pregnant women (2015-2019)

Source: Better Outcomes Registry Network (BORN) [2015-2019]. Date extracted: Dec. 1, 2020


Infant Feeding Top of Page

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

In 2019, there were 83.5 per cent of pregnant women that intended to breastfeed. Compared to previous years this has remained the same. However, it should be noted that this percentage is slightly higher than Ontario (80.0 per cent). Exclusive breastfeeding at discharge from hospital has decreased over time with 61.7 per cent of women exclusively breastfeeding at discharge in 2015, compared to 55.1 per cent in 2019, which is also lower than Ontario (58.6 per cent)

Exclusive breastfeeding intention and at discharge amongst others (2015-2019)

Source: Better Outcomes Registry Network (BORN) [2015-2019]. Date extracted: Dec. 1, 2020

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