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New pregnancy care guidelines ditch vitamin D

Embargoed until: Publicly released:
Updated clinical guidelines for pregnancy care recommend early routine testing for hepatitis C, the discontinuation of routine testing for vitamin D status, offering advice to pregnant women about weight, diet and physical activity, and the chance to be weighed at each antenatal visit, according to the Australian authors of a guideline summary.

Journal/conference: MJA

DOI: 10.5694/mja18.00286

Organisation/s: University of Technology Sydney (UTS), The University of Melbourne, The University of Adelaide

Funder: Australian Government and the states and territories.

Media Release

From: Medical Journal of Australia (MJA)

NEW PREGNANCY CARE GUIDELINES DITCH VITAMIN D

UPDATED clinical guidelines for pregnancy care recommend early routine testing for hepatitis C, the discontinuation of routine testing for vitamin D status, offering advice to pregnant women about weight, diet and physical activity, and the chance to be weighed at each antenatal visit, according to the authors of a guideline summary published today by the Medical Journal of Australia.

The update represents a streamlining of the guidelines with the consolidation of two separate editions (2012 and 2014) into a single document. Eleven topics have been updated and new guidance on substance use in pregnancy has been added.

The updated guidelines include the following key changes to practice:

  • recommend routine testing for hepatitis C at the first antenatal visit;
  • recommend against routine testing for vitamin D status in the absence of a specific indication;
  • recommend discussing weight change, diet and physical activity with all pregnant women; and
  • recommend offering pregnant women the opportunity to be weighed at every antenatal visit and encouraging women to self-monitor weight gain.

“The guidelines will enable pregnant women diagnosed with hepatitis C to be identified and thus avoid invasive procedures that increase the risk of mother-to-baby transmission,” wrote the summary authors, led by Professor Caroline Homer, Co-Program Director (Maternal and Child Health) at the Burnet Institute in Melbourne, and Visiting Professor of Midwifery at the University of Technology Sydney.

“Women can be treated postpartum, reducing the risk of liver disease and removing the risk of perinatal infection for subsequ ent pregnancies.

“Routine testing of all pregnant women for vitamin D status and subsequent vitamin D supplementation is not supported by evidence and should cease as the benefits and harms of vitamin D supplementation remain unclear.

“The recommendation for health professionals to provide advice to pregnant women about weight, diet and physical activity, and the opportunity to be weighed will help women to make changes leading to better health outcomes for themselves and their babies.”

The guidelines are intended “for all health professionals who contribute to antenatal care including midwives, obstetricians, general practitioners, practice nurses, maternal and child health nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and allied health professionals,” Homer and colleagues wrote.

While they are not intended to be a consumer resource, they are publicly available and can also be accessed by women and the media seeking information on antenatal care at https://beta.health.gov.au/resources/publications/pregnancy-care-guidelines-and-related-documents.

“The next challenge is to facilitate the uptake of the guidelines and their incorporation into routine care so that the women of Australia receive the highest possible quality of maternity care,” Homer and colleagues wrote.

“We trust that the guidelines will contribute to greater consistency in pregnancy care and improve the experience and outcomes of pregnancy care for women and their families.”

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  • Medical Journal of Australia (MJA)
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  • Professor Caroline Homer, Burnet Institute 4

    Professor Caroline Homer Burnet Institute on recommendations around depression in new pregnancy care guidelines

    File Size: 66.4 MB

    Attribution: Professor Caroline Homer, Burnet Institute Co-Program Director, Maternal and Child Health

    Permission Category: © - Only use with this story

    Last Modified: 05 Nov 2018 12:04am

    Note: High resolution video files are only available for download here by registered journalists who are logged in.

  • Professor Caroline Homer, Burnet Institute 3

    Professor Caroline Homer Burnet Institute on hepatitis C recommendations in pregnancy care guidelines

    File Size: 66.7 MB

    Attribution: Professor Caroline Homer, Burnet Institute Co-Program Director, Maternal and Child Health

    Permission Category: © - Only use with this story

    Last Modified: 05 Nov 2018 12:05am

    Note: High resolution video files are only available for download here by registered journalists who are logged in.

  • Professor Caroline Homer, Burnet Institute 2

    Professor Caroline Homer Burnet Institute on vitamin D recomendations in new pregnancy care guidelines

    File Size: 77.2 MB

    Attribution: Professor Caroline Homer, Burnet Institute Co-Program Director, Maternal and Child Health

    Permission Category: © - Only use with this story

    Last Modified: 05 Nov 2018 12:04am

    Note: High resolution video files are only available for download here by registered journalists who are logged in.

  • Professor Caroline Homer Burnet Institute 1

    Professor Caroline Homer Burnet Institute on new pregnancy care guidelines

    File Size: 75.5 MB

    Attribution: Professor Caroline Homer, Burnet Institute Co-Program Director, Maternal and Child Health

    Permission Category: © - Only use with this story

    Last Modified: 05 Nov 2018 12:04am

    Note: High resolution video files are only available for download here by registered journalists who are logged in.

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