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PerinatalNB Releases Third Report of Indicators

(MONCTON) Friday, March 11, 2022- The New Brunswick Perinatal Health Program (Perinatal NB) has released its third report of indicators, which captures a wide variety of critical data collected from across the province over the last five years, including key indicators related to maternal and newborn health in New Brunswick.

Perinatal NB's "Report of Indicators 2016-2021" notes the concerning trend of a continued rise in rates of gestational diabetes and hypertension among pregnant individuals in New Brunswick. The report also indicates a slight increase in the number of babies born during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report can be read in its entirety here.

"With the addition of risk factor indicators such as diabetes, hypertension and body mass index, the data included in this report not only provides insight on maternal and neonatal health outcomes, but also increases the data-informed knowledge of chronic health conditions in New Brunswick," said Gaetane LeBlanc-Cormier, Perinatal NB's administrative program director. "During the past six years, we have provided a wealth of information to support our stakeholders' work and we will continue to assist all by providing more in-depth data through our data request process."

In terms of some of the key findings from the organization's third report of indicators, although the birth rate in New Brunswick stabilised in 2020/21, there has been a continual decline in the yearly birth rate, with 400 fewer births in 2020/21 than in 2016/17, and approximately 1,000 fewer births now when compared to 10 years ago.

The report also highlights the increased complexity of medical care required by pregnant individuals in New Brunswick due to a continuing rise in rates of diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

Neonatal intensive care and special care nursery admission rates continue to be above the national average with increasing variability in admission rates of 15 to 37 per cent amongst the three Level 3 neonatal intensive care units and special care nurseries.

"This should raise concerns and warrant a closer look to determine the reason for these differences in admission rates and why we have the second highest rate of admission in the country," said Dr. Lynn Murphy-Kaulbeck, Medical Director for Perinatal NB. "Separation of mother and baby should be avoided if possible as mothers and babies need to bond and establish breastfeeding. Breastfeeding rates remain low and have not changed over the last five years despite concerted efforts and increased resources from the Regional Health Authorities to increase rates." 

Perinatal NB is a formal partnership of Horizon Health Network, Vitalité Health Network and the provincial Department of Health.

The Perinatal NB program strives for optimal perinatal health outcomes across the continuum of care for expectant individuals and babies in New Brunswick. Perinatal NB was established in 2014 to address New Brunswick's need for a centralized and coordinated approach to promoting better perinatal health.

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For more information contact:

Kris McDavid
Media Relations
1-877-499-1899
media@horizonnb.ca
news.horizonnb.ca

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