Abstract: BACKGROUND: Outcomes related to maternal smoked tobacco (cigarette) use have been substantially examined over the past 50 years with resultant public health education targeted towards the reduction of use during pregnancy. However, worldwide the effects of maternal smokeless tobacco use have been less well explored and in Australia, there has been no examination of maternal outcomes in relation to the use of Australian Nicotiana spp. (tobacco plant) as a smokeless tobacco, colloquially known as pituri. The aim of this study is to describe the maternal outcomes of a group of central Australian Aboriginal women in relation to their self-reported tobacco use. METHODS: Eligible participants were > 18 years of age, with a singleton pregnancy, > 28 weeks gestation, and who planned to birth at the Alice Springs Hospital (the major regional hospital for central Australia, in the Northern Territory, Australia). The sample consisted of 73 conveniently recruited women categorized by tobacco-use status as no-tobacco users (n = 31), pituri chewers (n = 19), and smokers (n = 23). RESULTS: There were differences in the groups in relation to teenage pregnancies; 35% of no-tobacco users, compared with 5% of pituri users, and 13% of smokers were < 20 years of age. The chewers had a higher rate (48%) of combined pre-existing and pregnancy-related elevated glucose concentrations compared with smokers (22%) and no-tobacco users (16%).The pituri chewers had the lowest rate (14%) of clinically significant post-partum hemorrhage (> 1000 ml) compared with 22% of smokers and 36% of the no-tobacco users. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first research to examine pituri use in pregnancy and the findings indicate possible associations with a range of adverse maternal outcomes. The use of smokeless tobacco needs to be considered in maternal healthcare assessment to inform antenatal, intrapartum and postpartum care planning. IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH: Female smokeless tobacco use is a global phenomenon and is particularly prevalent in low and middle income countries and in Indigenous populations. The findings contribute to the developing knowledge around maternal smokeless tobacco use and maternal outcomes. Maternal screening for a broader range of tobacco and nicotine products is required. NOTE TO READERS: In this research, the central Australian Aboriginal women chose the term 'Aboriginal' to refer to themselves, and 'Indigenous' to refer to the broader First Peoples. That choice has been maintained in the reporting of the research findings.
Ratsch, A., Bogossian, F., Steadman, K., 2021, Central Australian Aboriginal women’s pregnancy, labour and birth outcomes following maternal smokeless tobacco (pituri) use, cigarette use or no-tobacco use: a prospective cohort study, Volume:21, Journal Article, viewed 02 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=39844.