The impact of pre-pregnancy obesity and maternal diet quality on the use of healthcare resources during the perinatal period is underexplored. We assessed the effects of body mass index (BMI) and diet quality on the use of healthcare resources, to identify whether maternal diet quality may be effectively targeted to reduce antenatal heath care resource use, independent of women’s BMI. Cross-sectional data and inpatient medical records were gathered from pregnant women attending publicly funded antenatal outpatient clinics in Newcastle, Australia. Dietary intake was self-reported, using the Australian Eating Survey (AES) food frequency questionnaire, and diet quality was quantified from the AES subscale, the Australian Recommended Food Score (ARFS). Mean pre-pregnancy BMI was 28.8 kg/m2
(range: 14.7 kg/m2
). Mean ARFS was 28.8 (SD = 13.1). Higher BMI was associated with increased odds of caesarean delivery; women in obese class II (35.0–39.9 kg/m2
) had significantly higher odds of caesarean delivery compared to women of normal weight, (OR = 2.13, 95% CI 1.03 to 4.39; p
= 0.04). Using Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Group categories for birth admission, the average cost of the birth admission was $1348 more for women in the obese class II, and $1952 more for women in the obese class III, compared to women in a normal BMI weight class. Higher ARFS was associated with a small statistically significant reduction in maternal length of stay (RR = 1.24, 95% CI 1.00, 1.54; p
= 0.05). There was no evidence of an association between ARFS and mode of delivery or “midwifery-in-the-home-visits”.
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