New figures show most women giving birth either overweight or obese

Just 40.9% of those that delivered babies were classed as having a healthy body mass index.

New figures show most women giving birth in Scotland either overweight or obese iStock

A record proportion of women giving birth last year were either overweight or obese, new figures have shown.

National Records of Scotland recorded a total of 48,430 live births across Scotland in 2021-22.

But of those woman giving birth, just two fifths (40.9%) were classed as having a healthy body mass index (BMI) – with 56.9% either overweight or obese.

Public Health Scotland said that the figures showed “maternal obesity continued to increase” and that this total was the “highest since reporting began”.

As well as the 29.6% of women giving birth who were overweight and the 27.3% who were obese, there were also 2.3% who were classed as being underweight.

The figures also showed the continuing trend for women to have babies later in life in 2021-22.

Almost a quarter (24.7%) of women giving birth – regardless of whether the child was their first baby or not – were aged 35 or older.

Meanwhile, the proportion of women who gave birth under the age of 20 fell to its lowest recorded total – with just 2.3% of births involving women in this age group.

Births by caesarean sections continued to increase, with a record 37.6% of infants delivered this way in pregnancies where there was only one baby.

The report noted: “While older women are more likely to have a caesarean section, there is an increasing tendency for this method of delivery across all age groups.”

Almost a quarter (23.5%) of women under 20 giving birth delivered their baby by Caesarean section in 2021-22, with this proportion rising to more than half (55.4%) of women aged 40 and over.