By Alan (ed) Gray
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Additional info for A Matter of life and death: Contemporary aboriginal mortality : proceedings of a workshop of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health ... July 1989
The underlying attitudes and problems could be modified. This is the longterm solution but there are several major difficulties in using this approach to improve the birthweights and reduce the prevalence of low birthweight infants. Some risk factors such as smoking, alcohol and complications of pregnancy, might be treated during pregnancy with some reduction of low birthweight. Others such as the birthweight of the mother and her height are determined early in the mother's life and can be reduced only by early childhood care.
This has been done in North Queensland where all pregnant Aboriginal women are brought to Cairns base hospital some time before their expected date of delivery. This hospital has excellent facilities for prenatal care and a neonatal unit where small infants can receive appropriate treatment. Although this policy would appear to be merely a symptomatic response, it will detect conditions which might worsen later pregnancies and deliveries. However, it causes social disruption by taking the mother away from her family for periods u p to several weeks.
Most of these SGA births are full-term births, reflecting a serious problem of intra-uterine growth retardation. Indeed the proportion of fullterm SGA births in community F is more than twice the average, and about three times the level in community A. The patterns of childbearing across the communities do not vary sufficiently to explain these marked differentials in birthweight, thus the causes cannot be explained by data available here. Table 7 Mean scores and percentage of births scoringless than seven by age of mother and birth order.
A Matter of life and death: Contemporary aboriginal mortality : proceedings of a workshop of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health ... July 1989 by Alan (ed) Gray