A UNIQUE antenatal service catering for expectant mothers with a body mass index above 35 is being offered at Nepean Hospital.
Named the Opal Clinic, the midwifery-run service is the first of its kind in Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District.
The Opal Clinic was developed to address the growing need for an antenatal specialised service for women with an elevated BMI who were showing up at Nepean Hospital.
Registered nurse and midwife Louise Hosford explained: "The [problem] of obesity amongst expectant mothers at Nepean Hospital has increased over the past five years," she said.
"In 2007-2008, 19 per cent of women booking in to our antenatal service had a BMI over 35. In 2012-2013, this increased to 26 per cent.
"These women require more specialised support and care throughout their pregnancy.
"The Opal Clinic was developed to enhance the patient experience by providing a continuity of care for these women and improving their overall antenatal experience."
Ms Hosford said obesity during pregnancy was known to increase the risk of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and double the risk of a stillbirth.
This group of mothers also has lower rates of breastfeeding and often require induced labour. The Opal Clinic is held every Monday at the Nepean Clinical School, Derby Street, Kingswood.