HealthStats NSW
HealthStats NSW
HealthStats NSW

Birth complications: Perineal tears

Sydney, 2016
7.3Sydney, 2015
7.7Sydney, 2014
8.2Sydney, 2013
9.8Sydney, 2012
11.5Sydney, 2011
11.9Sydney, 2010
12Sydney, 2009
10.4Sydney, 2008
13.5South Western Sydney, 2016
10.8South Western Sydney, 2015
16.3South Western Sydney, 2014
17.9South Western Sydney, 2013
18.8South Western Sydney, 2012
17.9South Western Sydney, 2011
17South Western Sydney, 2010
17.5South Western Sydney, 2009
19.4South Western Sydney, 2008
21South Eastern Sydney, 2016
7.6South Eastern Sydney, 2015
10.4South Eastern Sydney, 2014
9.6South Eastern Sydney, 2013
11.2South Eastern Sydney, 2012
13.9South Eastern Sydney, 2011
12.8South Eastern Sydney, 2010
14.7South Eastern Sydney, 2009
17.1South Eastern Sydney, 2008
17.4Illawarra Shoalhaven, 2016
11.1Illawarra Shoalhaven, 2015
20.1Illawarra Shoalhaven, 2014
18.1Illawarra Shoalhaven, 2013
20.7Illawarra Shoalhaven, 2012
19Illawarra Shoalhaven, 2011
19.1Illawarra Shoalhaven, 2010
21.3Illawarra Shoalhaven, 2009
21.4Illawarra Shoalhaven, 2008
22.9Western Sydney, 2016
5Western Sydney, 2015
8Western Sydney, 2014
7.7Western Sydney, 2013
8.6Western Sydney, 2012
10.4Western Sydney, 2011
11.7Western Sydney, 2010
12.3Western Sydney, 2009
12.7Western Sydney, 2008
15.1Nepean Blue Mountains, 2016
9.4Nepean Blue Mountains, 2015
14.4Nepean Blue Mountains, 2014
14.3Nepean Blue Mountains, 2013
14.8Nepean Blue Mountains, 2012
18.2Nepean Blue Mountains, 2011
17.8Nepean Blue Mountains, 2010
16.4Nepean Blue Mountains, 2009
20Nepean Blue Mountains, 2008
20.9Northern Sydney, 2016
8.5Northern Sydney, 2015
12.2Northern Sydney, 2014
12.3Northern Sydney, 2013
12.5Northern Sydney, 2012
13.9Northern Sydney, 2011
12.4Northern Sydney, 2010
17.6Northern Sydney, 2009
17Northern Sydney, 2008
17.1Central Coast, 2016
9.6Central Coast, 2015
12.8Central Coast, 2014
13.3Central Coast, 2013
13Central Coast, 2012
19.1Central Coast, 2011
13.1Central Coast, 2010
13.8Central Coast, 2009
16.8Central Coast, 2008
21.2Hunter New England, 2016
15.1Hunter New England, 2015
17.6Hunter New England, 2014
17.4Hunter New England, 2013
19.9Hunter New England, 2012
19.9Hunter New England, 2011
18.1Hunter New England, 2010
20.5Hunter New England, 2009
22.3Hunter New England, 2008
24.9Northern NSW, 2016
19.7Northern NSW, 2015
22Northern NSW, 2014
26.5Northern NSW, 2013
28Northern NSW, 2012
26.3Northern NSW, 2011
29.8Northern NSW, 2010
29.1Northern NSW, 2009
26.1Northern NSW, 2008
28.8Mid North Coast, 2016
16.1Mid North Coast, 2015
15.7Mid North Coast, 2014
15.5Mid North Coast, 2013
19.2Mid North Coast, 2012
17.8Mid North Coast, 2011
22.9Mid North Coast, 2010
20.1Mid North Coast, 2009
23.3Mid North Coast, 2008
27.9Southern NSW, 2016
26Southern NSW, 2015
31Southern NSW, 2014
31.6Southern NSW, 2013
29.9Southern NSW, 2012
29Southern NSW, 2011
28Southern NSW, 2010
35Southern NSW, 2009
36.4Southern NSW, 2008
33Murrumbidgee, 2016
22.6Murrumbidgee, 2015
26.4Murrumbidgee, 2014
30.4Murrumbidgee, 2013
34.1Murrumbidgee, 2012
27.2Murrumbidgee, 2011
32.3Murrumbidgee, 2010
34.3Murrumbidgee, 2009
32.1Murrumbidgee, 2008
32.3Western NSW, 2016
15.6Western NSW, 2015
23.2Western NSW, 2014
20.9Western NSW, 2013
20.9Western NSW, 2012
27.1Western NSW, 2011
27.1Western NSW, 2010
29.3Western NSW, 2009
31Western NSW, 2008
28.3Far West, 2016
45.5Far West, 2015
47.1Far West, 2014
45.3Far West, 2013
21.2Far West, 2012
31.4Far West, 2011
52.8Far West, 2010
36.4Far West, 2009
46.5Far West, 2008
40Private Hospitals, 2016
6.2Private Hospitals, 2015
9.8Private Hospitals, 2014
10.7Private Hospitals, 2013
10.7Private Hospitals, 2012
11.2Private Hospitals, 2011
11.7Private Hospitals, 2010
11.2Private Hospitals, 2009
13.6Private Hospitals, 2008
13.5All LHDs, 2016
9.7All LHDs, 2015
13.4All LHDs, 2014
13.7All LHDs, 2013
14.7All LHDs, 2012
15.6All LHDs, 2011
15.6All LHDs, 2010
16.5All LHDs, 2009
17.7All LHDs, 2008
  • + Source

    NSW Perinatal Data Collection (SAPHaRI). Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health.

  • + Notes


    3.1 Intact perineum: Total number of selected primipara with an intact perineum or unsutured perineal tear as a percentage of the total number of selected primipara delivering vaginally.

    3.2 Intact perineum with episiotomy: Total number of selected primipara undergoing episiotomy with an intact perineum and no perineal tear while giving birth vaginally as a percentage of the total number of selected primipara delivering vaginally.

    3.3 Perineal tear and no episiotomy: Total number of selected primipara sustaining a perineal tear and no episiotomy as a percentage of the total number of selected primipara delivering vaginally.

    3.4 Perineal tear with episiotomy: Total number of selected primipara undergoing episiotomy and sustaining a perineal tear while giving birth vaginally as a percentage of the total number of selected primipara delivering vaginally.

    3.5 Surgical repair of 3rd degree tear: Total number of of selected primipara undergoing surgical repair of the perineum for third degree tear as a percentage of the total number of selected primipara delivering vaginally.

    3.6 Surgical repair of 4th degree tear: Total number of of selected primipara undergoing surgical repair of the perineum for fourth degree tear as a percentage of the total number of selected primipara delivering vaginally.

    Selected first time mother (primipara) is a woman 20-34 years of age at the time of giving birth, giving birth for the first time at greater than 20 weeks gestation; singleton pregnancy; cephalic presentation; and at 37 to 41 completed weeks gestation. A 3rd degree perineal tear is a laceration that extends from the birth canal up to and including the anal sphincter. A 4th degree perineal tear also includes the anal or rectal mucous membrane. Episiotomy is an surgical incision that enlarges the birth canal. See Methods Tab for further information.

    Hospitals with at least 200 births in the latest year are identified individually. Totals include Other and not stated category.

    Data include all mothers who gave birth (stillbirth or live birth) in a NSW facility (or a home) regardless of place of permanent residence.

    The number of ‘not stated’ cases varied by geographic area and year. This may reduce the reliability of the estimates in the instances where ‘not stated’ cases are a large proportion.


    This is a national clinical indicator defined in: Australian Council on Healthcare Standards. Obstetrics Indicator Users' Manual 2017. Obstetrics version 8. Sydney: ACHS, 2017. It is operationalised as per AIHW (AIHW 2013) reporting using the definition by Women's Healthcare Australasia Core maternity Indicators Project (WHA 2007)

    Clinical indicators 3.1-3.6: Major perineal tears and surgical repair of the perineum.

  • + Data Table
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  • + Methods
  • + Codes
    • Codes: NSW Perinatal Data Collection

      The current data collection form for the NSW Perinatal Data Collection (PDC) commenced in 2016. Codes are described in the NSW Perinatal Data Collection Manual - 2016 Edition, which is available on the internet at

  • + Related Indicators
  • + Associated Information
    • Key points: Pregnancy and the newborn period

      Recent trends

      In 2018 there were 95,552 births to 94,170 mothers in NSW, a decrease of 1.8% from 97,325 births in 2014.  The percentage of multiple (twin and triplet) pregnancies has remained fairly stable over recent years at about 1.4%. 

      Between 2014 and 2018:

      • The proportion of mothers who were teenagers continued to fall, from 2.7% to 1.9%.

      • The proportion of births to mothers over 35 years of age has remained stable.

      • The rate of low birth weight (less than 2,500 grams) has remained stable, ranging from 6.3% to 6.8%.

      • The perinatal mortality rate was 8.1 per 1,000 births in 2018, increased from 7.8 per 1,000 births in 2014.

      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies

      Between 2014 and 2018:

      • The number of reported births to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers increased from 3,808 to 4,270, representing 3.9% and 4.5% respectively of all babies born in NSW.

      • The percentage of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers who were teenagers fell substantially from 15.8% to 11.5%.

      • The percentage of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers who commenced antenatal care before 14 weeks increased from 54.4% to 73.6%.

      • The perinatal mortality rate of 11.7 per 1,000 births in Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers in 2018 is higher than the rate of 7.9 per 1,000 births experienced among babies born to non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers.

    • Introduction: Pregnancy and the newborn period


      The health of Australian mothers and babies is generally good by world standards. Maternal deaths are rare, and perinatal mortality rates are low.

      The average woman in NSW can currently expect to give birth to 1.9 babies in her lifetime.

      NSW mothers are getting older with the mean maternal age at first birth around 29 years and at subsequent birth just over 30. The proportion of teenage mothers is declining.

      Burden of disease and social and economic disadvantage 

      Aboriginal mothers and babies, those from socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, and some overseas-born mothers and their babies continue to experience worse outcomes than other NSW mothers and babies.

    • Interventions: Pregnancy and the newborn period

      The NSW Ministry of Health maintains two population-based surveillance systems that collect information concerning pregnancy and birth: the NSW Perinatal Data Collection and the NSW Register of Congenital Conditions. They assist in monitoring the health of mothers and babies and, maternity service planning in NSW.

      The implementation of the NSW Aboriginal Maternal and Infant Health Strategy has improved access to culturally appropriate maternity services for Aboriginal mothers.

      The NSW Maternal and Perinatal Mortality Review Committee reviews each death of a mother or newborn baby to assess the cause and identify any possible avoidable factors. This information is used to improve services for mothers and babies.

    • For more information: Pregnancy and the newborn period

      Useful websites

      NSW Ministry of Health at, in particular see the annual New South Wales Mothers and Babies report, published by the Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence. The latest edition is available at

      Australian Bureau of Statistics at, in particular see Births (ABS Cat no 3301.0)

      Australian Institute of Health and Welfare at in general and in particular the AIHW's National Perinatal Statistics Unit and the annual publication: Australia’s mothers and babies.

      healthdirect at

      Population and Public Health Division. Improved reporting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on population datasets in New South Wales using record linkage–a feasibility study. Sydney: NSW Ministry of Health, 2012. Available at:

      Australian Council on Healthcare Standards. Obstetrics Indicator User Manual. Sydney: ACHS. Available at:

Last Updated At: Wednesday, 12 June 2019