AN ANTENATAL clinic dedicated to women with a higher body mass index has cared for 94 mums and helped bring 58 babies into the world in its first year.
Western Health’s DIAMOND Clinic is believed to be one of the most comprehensive services of its kind in Australia.
Established by Women’s and Children’s Clinical Services Director A/Prof Glyn Teale, the clinic brings together a team of experts who specialise in the complications common to this group of patients.
And for the patients, the result is a virtual one-stop-shop of specialists at their weekly clinic. These include obstetricians, midwives, dietitians, psychologists, foetal monitoring specialists, physiotherapists and endocrinologists.
The DIAMOND Clinic, which stands for DIAbetes, Maternal Obesity, Nutrition and Diet and is held every Thursday morning at Sunshine Hospital, celebrated its first birthday in April.
A/Prof Teale said women with an “above healthy” weight were at higher risk of a range of complications including diabetes, blood pressure problems, and preeclampsia during pregnancy.
He said the clinic was set up in response to increasing numbers of obese women presenting for antenatal care. To be eligible, women must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 50 or above, or 40 or above if they also have other complications.
“This group of mums do require specialist attention,” A/Prof Teale said. “What we now have is a team that all sit together on the same day and provide mums with weight issues in pregnancy the ability to see a range of specialists”.
Midwife Karyn Smith, a mother of five who battled excessive weight during two of her pregnancies, said the clinic had been very successful and that it had a very high attendance rate.
“We want to put the message out there that we don’t need to be judging, we need to be helping,” she said. “I have walked in their shoes and I know who it feels”.
Joanna Chellia, mum of newborn twin girls Samantha and Isabelle, said she was “ecstatic” by her treatment at the DIAMOND Clinic, after being refused care by two other maternity hospitals: “They didn’t make it about your BMI. It was more about your health and your babies’ health.”
Mum-of-one Shayrn Taylor was enjoying her second pregnancy with the DIAMOND Clinic: “For me it was about not having that judgment and just feeling like a normal pregnant person.”
DIAMOND clinic patients Sharyn Taylor and Joanna Chellia