Why Northern Rivers babies are bigger than city babies
MUMS on the Northern Rivers start families younger than their Sydney counterparts, have less caesareans and give birth to heavier babies.
That's according to the latest NSW Mothers and Babies report, which has looked at trends involving babies born in 2015 across the state and local health districts.
Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive, Wayne Jones, said birth weight figures suggested our region's mums were in better health and born more around their due date when compared to metropolitan Sydney.
"Low birth weight babies (that is, less than 2500g) are often associated with less optimal health outcomes and prematurity," he said.
Mr Jones also said figures showed a high rate of smoking during pregnancy in Northern NSW (9.1%) when compared to Sydney and the state.
"While the percentage was higher than that of women in metropolitan health districts, this region has higher proportions of women who are socio-economically disadvantaged and higher levels of younger mothers," he said.
"These factors increase the likelihood of smoking during pregnancy."
But 23-year-old Goonellabah mum Grace Trevillien, who described her baby boy as a "miracle", said being a young parent wasn't always a negative thing.
"I had to have an ovary removed when I first met Tim (my husband)," Mrs Trevillien explained. "My specialist told me it would be hard to have kids."
"It put a little bit of extra pressure on us."
She said she and her husband decided it would be best to try for a baby sooner than later, but to their surprise it only took five months to conceive.
Mrs Trevillien gave birth to her first baby, Darcy, in October 2016.
"My parents were young when they had me ... we can go out, she (my mum) is young still; she's able to look after Darcy when I need her to," she explained.
"And when he gets older we'll still be able to enjoy half of our life with him, but he'll be responsible."
She said she was also looking forward to travelling the world after Darcy grew up.
Being a young mum still came with its challenges, Mrs Trevillien said.
"It's harder financially ... getting ready in the morning is a challenge, going places is a challenge," she said.
"They're hard work but they're so worth it."
Mrs Trevillien is planning to have nine months of maternity leave before she returns to her job as a receptionist.
Mr Trevillien works full time as a glazier.