More than half of expectant mums at hospital trust are obese or overweight, figures show

More than half of women who give birth at the trust which runs King’s Mill hospital are either overweight or obese, new figures show.

And one in three mothers need surgery or medical assistance when giving birth at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The statistics published on the NHS Digital website come as the Royal College of Midwives has warned increasing levels of obesity and the rising age of mothers are leading to more complex births in England.

The figures show women who attended their first scan at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in December were aged 28 years old on average, lower than the national average of 30.

Of those who had their Body Mass Index recorded, 29 per cent were overweight and 30 per cent were obese.

Across England, more than half of pregnant women were overweight or obese.

In December last year, 270 births were recorded at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, NHS figures show.

The Trust was below the national average with around 91 births - or 37 per cent - requiring some form of intervention from doctors or midwives.

The caesarean section rate for both emergency and elective caesareans at Sherwood Forest Hospitals was 28 per cent and the assisted birth rate was 8.9 per cent

The caesareans were split into 35 pre-planned (elective) and 35 emergency caesareans.

Caesarean -sections can pose a number of risks, and are usually only carried out if the safety of the mother or baby is at risk.

Assisted deliveries are when doctors or midwives help with the deliver with things like forceps or a vacuum extractor to help deliver the baby.

Women who have an instrumental delivery have a higher chance of more serious vaginal tears, incontinence and blood clots, according to the NHS.

However, the rate for more extensive tears was only 2.2 per cent for the Trust in December 2018.

Divisional Head of Nursing and Midwifery at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Alison Whitham said: “It is pleasing to see that fewer women are experiencing complex births at Sherwood Forest Hospitals than the national average.

We pride ourselves on the care that we give to our patients, with new mums rating King’s Mill Hospital as the best hospital in the East Midlands for giving birth and best in the region for the staff that helped them to deliver their babies, according to a recent national patient satisfaction survey conducted by the Care Quality Commission.

“The survey also asked new mums how they felt about the antenatal and postnatal care they received.

“Women were particularly impressed with the way they were given time at antenatal check-ups to ask questions and discuss their pregnancy and their ability to be involved in making decisions about their care.

“We always work hard to give our patients the best possible birthing experience and support that they need throughout their pregnancy.

“We were rated as Outstanding for the CQC in Midwifery for the care that we give to our patients and I am really proud of our teams for providing such excellent care.”

A spokesman for the Trust said: “The rate of unassisted births has stayed fairly stable for the Trust, so I can’t really say there has been a particular trend for us other than it staying fairly stable around 60 per cent.”

was unable to comment on the obesity and overweight figures, which was ‘not the kind of data that we would normally collate’.

The World Health Organisation says it would only expect the method in up to 15 per cent of births, if it is performed when medically necessary.

Across England, the proportion of unassisted births has fallen from 63 per cent in 2007-08, to 58 per cent in 2017-18. The normal, unassisted birth rate was 60.8 per cent for Sherwood Forest Hospitals in Dec 2018.

Alison Whitham added: “ Women who are obese can present more complex health problems when they are pregnant and we do all we can to support these women by providing them with an opt-in weight management service, scanning them more regularly to monitor the growth of the baby and providing more antenatal care.”

Mandy Forrester, from RCM, said the trend could be down to women with complex health problems becoming pregnant.

“We’re seeing more women with obesity, diabetes and hypertension, which makes pregnancy and delivery more complex,” she said.

“It’s definitely a demand on resources. It’s a different way of working with women, and there’s more machinery to look after.

“Women with more complications may come into hospital more, too, which takes up more time.

“We need to be aware of the trend, and make sure women have all the information they need to make the right decision for them.”