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Continuous quality improvement and metabolic screening during pregnancy at primary health centres attended by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

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Attending to perinatal risk factors, such as diabetes and hypertension during pregnancy, obesity and excess gestational weight gain,15 is important for optimising maternal and infant health outcomes. Pregnancy is also a key period for implementing strategies that prevent long-term adverse health outcomes, as excess gestational weight gain and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are respectively predictors of long-term obesity6 and the development of type 2 diabetes.7

Screening for and follow-up of metabolic risk factors are components of recommended pregnancy care in Australia.8 Ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (respectfully referred to in this article as Indigenous) women receive such care is expected to contribute to giving babies a healthy start to life and to improving the health of their mothers. In Australia, low birth weight, premature birth and perinatal death are substantially more frequent in Indigenous than in non-Indigenous pregnancies.9 Obesity, pre-existing diabetes and GDM are some of the risk factors that are more common in Indigenous women.3,4,10