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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin

Maternal and neonatal outcomes of maternal pituri use



The Maternal and neonatal outcomes of maternal pituri use study focuses on examining the health effects of chewing wild tobacco plants by Central Australian Aboriginal women during pregnancy. The study is being undertaken in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations in rural and remote Central Australian regions. Over 30% of Aboriginal women who give birth at Alice Springs Hospital regularly chew wild tobacco or 'pituri', which is found growing in these regions. The research looks at the chemical properties of chewing tobacco in pregnant women and their unborn babies. It builds on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge of native plants and practices to determine whether a relationship exists between the chewing of pituri during pregnancy and poor maternal and neonatal health outcomes.

The research is being undertaken by a University of Queensland PhD scholar, pharmacy and midwifery researchers, and midwives. Collaboration is also taking place with Aboriginal health workers, Aboriginal liaison officers in Central Australia and key Aboriginal Women's Organisations - Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council and Alukura Central Australian Aboriginal Congress.

Abstract adapted from University of Queensland


Lya McTaggart
School of Nursing and Midwifery
University of Queensland
Ph: (07) 3365 5084


Last updated: 1 September 2015
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