Saturday, 2 May 2009

"26.6 per cent of pregnant women in Nunavut admitted to drug use" StatsCan's Canadian Maternity Experience Survey

The Canadian Maternity Experience Survey

For more information please contact:

Maternal and Infant Health Section
Health Surveillance and Epidemiology Division
Centre for Health Promotion
Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Branch
200 Eglantine Driveway, Tunney's Pasture
Jeanne Mance Building, 10th Floor, 1901D
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
Telephone: 613-941-2395
Fax: 613-941-9927

Many pregnant woman in Nunavut suffer hardships that include stress and abuse, says a new Statistics Canada report.


"... "A number of the findings for Nunavut are of concern," says What Mothers say: The Canadian Maternity Experience Survey.

The 240-page survey, which interviewed women across Canada, found that, compared to pregnant women in other provinces or territories, pregnant women in Nunavut are likely to:

  • Feel less happy when they learn they are pregnant;
  • Receive inadequate prenatal care, that is four or fewer visits to a health clinic, start this care later in pregnancy, and rarely under an obstetrician or gynecologist;
  • Skip folic acid supplements and be unaware that they should take these supplements to prevent birth defects;
  • Smoke and live with smokers;
  • Use street drugs before pregnancy: 26.6 per cent of pregnant women in Nunavut admitted to drug use, compared with only 5.5 per cent in Prince Edward Island.
  • Use street drugs during pregnancy: about nine per cent of pregnant women in Nunavut reported using drugs while pregnant. All other jurisdictions with numbers large enough to report have proportions of less than two per cent;
  • Drink more frequently;
  • Be unemployed;
  • Experience abuse;
  • Lack support: 15 per cent say that during pregnancy they receive support "little or none of the time;"
  • Feel stress: more than half say they're stressed during the 12 months before giving birth, the highest rate in Canada;
  • Travel to give birth;
  • Receive less support during labour from a husband or partner;
  • Give birth naturally, without cesarean sections, anesthesia or stitches, and have immediate contact with their baby and breastfeed;
  • Stay in the hospital briefly, but receive less follow-up care and support at home after the baby's birth;
  • Display symptoms suggesting postpartum depression;
  • Be unsatisfied with their health care and less likely to think their baby is in excellent health.

The survey's findings don't come as a surprise to Dr. Geraldine Osborne, the assistant director of public health in Nunavut.  ..."

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Message from Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health


"... As a recent mother, I know first-hand that pregnancy and early motherhood is an exciting, but sometimes intimidating time in a woman's life. Making wise lifestyle choices before, during and after pregnancy can help support a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

This is why I am pleased to introduce Mothers' Voices – what women say about pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood. In 2006 and 2007, over 6,000 women from across the country took part in the Public Health Agency of Canada's Maternity Experiences Survey. Thanks to their contribution, for the first time in Canada, we now have national information about maternity experiences, as reported by women themselves. ..."

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