Nurses and midwives are being called on to take the lead on important public health issues such the rising incidence of rickets and micronutrient deficiencies in Australian mothers-to-be.
A new evidence-based seminar called Blood, Brain & Bone – which will air as a free webcast series starting on June 25 this month – was developed specifically to educate nurses and midwives on important new developments on key micronutrients such as Vitamin D, Iron, and Iodine.
Bringing experts together
Featuring national and international experts in their field, the Blood, Brain & Bone webcast series will specifically empower and educate nurses and midwives in light of their crucial position at the coalface of infant nutrition.
Nine expert speakers will, over the course of the seminar series, reveal the latest research and discuss the significant health impacts these deficiencies can have on mother and child in order to empower nurses and midwives to lead the charge in creating widespread change.
Major changes must be made to the existing nutritional advice being given to pregnant women, medical experts say, and Blood, Brain & Bone will educate Australian nurses and midwives on these.
The webcast series will tackle the rising problem of vitamin D, iodine, and iron deficiency, all of which can lead to significant reduction in quality of life – and in severe cases can lead to conditions such as rickets, intellectual impairment and osteoporosis.
While these micronutrients are essential for everyone, the rate of deficiency is higher for females and causes the most negative health effects during foetal development and infancy – in mother and baby.
Rickets on the rise
For instance, a staggering 50 per cent of pregnant women being seen at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital are vitamin D deficient, and in South Australia, the numbers are even higher, according to Sydney paediatric endocrinologist and Blood, Brain & Bone presenter Prof Craig Munns.
As yet, however, only one hospital and one LHD in NSW has adopted the 2016 international guidelines for the prevention and treatment of rickets, he says.
“The majority of cases are completely asymptomatic, so if you’re waiting to see signs of deficiency you’ve missed the boat. In severe cases, symptoms can include tiredness or aches and pains, but these are also common in pregnancy, so can be easily missed,” he says.
Prof Munns, who is a Professor of Paediatric Bone and Mineral Medicine at the University of Sydney, will be offering strategies to help empower and educate nurses and midwives on how to become agents for change for this important patient group.
Nurses and midwives take the lead
Blood, Brain & Bone was created specifically in recognition of the importance of empowering nurses and midwives. The World Health Organisation’s 2000 Munich Declaration called nurses and midwives “a force for health” in terms of their current and potential capacity to achieve public health outcomes and urged authorities to better support them in this role.
According to WHO, nurses and midwives have “key and increasingly important roles to play in society’s efforts to tackle the public health challenges of our time.”
Part one of Blood, Brain & Bone will air on the evening of June 25 from 7pm-9pm AEST and will feature three presentations – equating to 90 minutes of high-quality CPD – focusing on the importance of vitamin D and calcium:
TOPIC 1: Vit D Supplementation in Pregnancy and Neonates – Practical Implementation
Michelle Simmons: Registered Midwife and Nurse; CMC Postnatal and Infant Feeding, Women’s and Newborn Health, Westmead Hospital; Director of Events, Lactation Consultants of Australia and New Zealand (LCANZ).
Nutritional rickets can be prevented with universal vitamin D supplementation of pregnant women and infants for the first 12 months of life. This presentationwill focus on the implementation of such a program and provide an insight into how supplementation can be done successfully.
TOPIC 2: Vitamin D and Calcium in Pregnancy
Dr Therese McGee: Clinical Director, Women’s and Newborn Health, Westmead Hospital; Clinical Senior Lecturer, Sydney University.
Pregnancy and breast feeding place extra demands on maternal mineral homeostasis. To ensure adequate maternal well-being and fetal development it is important to ensure adequate calcium and vitamin D intake during pregnancy and in the post-partum period. In this presentation the role of calcium and vitamin D in pregnancy will be discussed.
TOPIC 3: Nutrition, Children and Rickets
Prof Craig Munns: Professor of Paediatric Bone and Mineral Medicine, University of Sydney; Senior Staff Specialist, Endocrinology, Westmead Children’s Hospital.
This presentation will provide an overview of vitamin D metabolism and an understanding of the role that vitamin D and calcium plays in skeletal development in children and the potential devastating effect of nutritional rickets on growth and development.
This content was proudly sponsored by Healthed.