NSW Perinatal Data Collection (SAPHaRI). Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health.
Births for which gestational age was less than 37 weeks were classified as preterm.
Data include all births (stillbirths and live births) in NSW regardless of mother’s permanent place of residence.
As Aboriginal mothers are under-reported on the Perinatal Data Collection and information on Aboriginal fathers is not reported, it is likely that the true numbers of Aboriginal babies are substantially higher than shown. The level of under-reporting varies between different geographical areas. Refer to the Related indicators tab for more information.Data for some LHDs may not be included individually due to low numbers. All LHDs include Albury Local Government Area and those LHDs where numbers are low and records where the LHD was missing or not stated.
The NSW Perinatal Data Collection (PDC), formerly the NSW Midwives Data Collection (MDC), is a population-based surveillance system covering all births in NSW public and private hospitals, as well as homebirths. The PDC is a statutory data collection under the NSW Public Health Act 2010.
The PDC encompasses all live births, and stillbirths of at least 20 weeks gestation or at least 400 grams birth weight. Prior to 2006 the PDC encompassed all births of at least 20 weeks gestation or at least 400 grams birth weight. The data collection has operated since 1987 but with population coverage since 1990.
For every birth in NSW the attending midwife or medical practitioner completes a notification form (latest version for 2011: http://internal.health.nsw.gov.au/data/collections/mdc/NSWH%20Perinatal%20Data.pdf), or its electronic equivalent, giving demographic, medical and obstetric information on the mother and the condition of the infant. The PDC form was revised in 1998, 2006, 2011, and 2016.
There are several source systems that generate the PDC data. In 2016, 100% of PDC notifications were received electronically from public and private hospitals obstetric information systems. Electronically submitted records were received by secure upload to the state database. Historically, a proportion of records were received via completed paper forms that were submitted to the System Information and Analytics Branch of the NSW Ministry of Health, where they were compiled into the PDC database.
There are several electronic systems that generate the PDC data including ObstetriX, eMaternity, and Cerner in public hospitals and a variety of systems in private hospitals. ObstetriX is the most commonly used maternity information system in public hospitals in NSW.
Table 1. Perinatal Data Collection Notification Sources, NSW 2017
|Notification source||Local Health District or Hospital||
Per cent of PDC records 2017
All public hospitals in South Eastern Sydney, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Hunter New England, Nepean Blue Mountains and Western Sydney Local Health Districts, as well as some hospitals in Murrumbidgee, Southern NSW, Western NSW and Far West Local Health Districts for part of 2017.
|Cerner||Sydney and South Western Sydney Local Health Districts.||18.9|
|Meditech||Ramsay Private Hospitals - North Shore Private Hospital, Westmead Private Hospital, St George Private Hospital, Kareena Private Hospital and Wollongong Private Hospital.||8.1|
|Sydney Adventist Obstetric Information System||Sydney Adventist Hospital||2.0|
|Healthscope||Healthscope hospitals - Prince of Wales Private Hospital, Norwest Private Hospital, Sydney South West Private Hospital, Nepean Private Hospital and Newcastle Private Hospital||8.0|
|The Mater Hospital database||The Mater Hospital, North Sydney||2.3|
|eMaternity||All public hospitals in South Eastern Sydney, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Hunter New England, Nepean Blue Mountains and Western Sydney Local Health Districts, as well as some hospitals in Murrumbidgee, Southern NSW, Western NSW and Far West Local Health Districts for part of 2017.||25.2|
Note: The total from these sources is slightly below 100% as independent midwives and hospitals with small numbers of births report using PeriForm. These figures are not included.
The information sent to the NSW Ministry of Health is checked and compiled into one statewide dataset. One record is reported for each baby, even in the case of a multiple birth. The PDC includes notifications of births which occur in NSW which includes women whose usual place of residence is outside NSW and who give birth in NSW; it does not receive notifications of interstate births where the mother is resident in NSW. The collection is based on the date of birth of the baby. In 2017 there were a number of records with missing information that has resulted in a fluctuation in trends for analyses of subgroups.
Data are reported by calendar year. For this report, the PDC was accessed via SAPHaRI.
Local Health Districts (LHDs) are health administrative areas constituted under Section 17 of the NSW Health Services Act, 1997 which became effective from January 2011 and were initially called Local Health Networks.
There are 15 geographically-based LHDs (8 covering the Sydney metropolitan region and 7 rural and regional NSW) and two specialist networks focussing on Children's and Paediatric Services and Forensic Mental Health. A third network operates across the public health services provided by three Sydney facilities operated by St Vincent's Health: these include St Vincent's Hospital and the Sacred Heart Hospice at Darlinghurst and St Joseph’s at Auburn.
LHDs replaced the former Area Health Services and have their own budgets, management and accountabilities. Geographically-based LHDs are overseen by Governing Boards. Please refer to the NSW Health website for a list of Local Health Districts and the membership of Boards.
Local Health Districts are:
Metropolitan NSW: Central Coast, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Nepean Blue Mountains, Northern Sydney, South Eastern Sydney, South Western Sydney, Sydney, Western Sydney.
Rural & regional NSW: Far West, Hunter New England, Mid North Coast, Murrumbidgee, Northern NSW, Southern NSW, Western NSW
The term ‘small area’ refers to a small geographical area or a small population. Data analysed for small areas may result in estimates that display considerable variability from year to year, particularly for rare conditions or events. Smoothing is a general term for statistical methods used to reduce the random variability of data. Examples include rounding, moving averages, extending the period of time in which cases are counted or increasing the size of the areas. In addition, Bayesian statistical smoothing can be used to adjust raw estimates in small areas by taking into account information from adjacent areas (local or spatial variability) and from the whole state (global or non-spatial variability).
In this report, extending the period of time, in which cases in the Local Health Districts are counted, was the most frequently used smoothing technique. Results for some Local Health Districts were completely suppressed in some indicators due to very low numbers and privacy concerns. Please refer to Notes under the graphs or Methods tabs for confirmation of suppression and the smoothing technique used.
NSW Health. Home page. Last updated 1 July 2011. Available at http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/services/pages/default.aspx
Maternal Aboriginality is under–reported on the Perinatal Data Collection. One method of assessing the extent of under–reporting and monitoring changes over time is to compare the reporting of maternal Aboriginality to the Perinatal Data Collection with reporting of maternal Aboriginality on birth registrations held by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Using record linkage, an estimate of the total number of babies born to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers was obtained and compared with the number of babies born to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers as reported to the Perinatal Data Collection (Table 1 below). An estimate of the total number of babies born to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers or fathers was also obtained and compared with the number of babies born to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers as reported to the Perinatal Data Collection (Table 2 below).
The Aboriginality of the mother, rather than the baby, is reported to the PDC. Consequently, maternal Aboriginality was used for this analysis. The number of births reported to Torres Strait Islander mothers is quite small in NSW. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers were therefore combined for this analysis.
Records of births reported to the PDC were linked to birth registration records of the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (RBDM) for births occurring in the 3–year period 2007–2009. Record linkage was carried out at the Centre for Health Record Linkage (www.cherel.org.au). The overall linkage rate was 91.3% of PDC records and 97.7% of birth registration records. Some births occurring in a given year are registered by the RBDM in subsequent years. Only births registered with RBDM up to 2010 were included in this analysis, resulting in the relatively lower rate of linkage of PDC records compared to birth registration records.
In estimating under-reporting of births in the PDC, a mother was accepted as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander where either the PDC or RBDM birth registration record indicated that the mother was Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Analysis was carried out using SAS version 9.2. Analyses concerning geographic location were based on Local Health District of residence as reported to the PDC.
Reporting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on population health and health-related datasets may be improved using record linkage, a process referred to as “enhanced” reporting. Methods for enhanced reporting have been described in detail elsewhere (PPHD 2012).
For NSW overall, the estimated percentage of births to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers reported to the Perinatal Data Collection ranged from 74.2% to 84.4% between 2007 and 2009. In 2009, reporting varied markedly between Local Health Districts, ranging from 66.3% in the South Western Sydney Local Health District to 96.8% in the Mid North Coast Local Health District, with reporting generally better in rural compared to urban areas (Table 2 and Figure 2 below). The total number of babies born to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers in 2009 is estimated to be 3,474, about 19% higher than the number reported to the Perinatal Data Collection. Under–reporting means that numbers of births presented in this chapter should be interpreted with caution.
Table 1 shows the number of babies born to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers as reported to the Perinatal Data Collection (which collects Aboriginality of the mother only) and the number of babies born to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers or fathers as reported to the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages between 2007 and 2009.
The estimated percentage of births to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers or fathers in NSW, that were registered in the Perinatal Data Collection as births to Aboriginal mothers ranged from 55.4% (in 2008) to 59.4% (in 2009) in the period between 2007 and 2009. In 2009, this under-estimating ranged from 43.5% in the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District to 73.0% of the true figures, in the Mid North Coast Local Health District. There are, therefore, substantial numbers of babies with non- Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander fathers, who are not represented in the numbers reported in this chapter and numbers in Local Health Districts are affected differently.
|Year of birth–Local Health District||PDC births||RBDM births||"Births reported to both PDC/RBDM"||"Total estimated Aboriginal births"||Level of reporting|
|South Western Sydney||161||246||93||314||51.3|
|South Eastern Sydney||86||113||36||163||52.8|
|Nepean Blue Mountains||144||129||86||187||77|
|Hunter New England||661||537||406||792||83.5|
|Mid North Coast||149||95||87||157||94.9|
|South Western Sydney||174||255||108||321||54.2|
|South Eastern Sydney||59||200||41||218||27.1|
|Nepean Blue Mountains||148||126||90||184||80.4|
|Hunter New England||750||651||519||882||85|
|Mid North Coast||172||113||103||182||94.5|
|South Western Sydney||173||203||115||261||66.3|
|South Eastern Sydney||65||86||46||105||61.9|
|Nepean Blue Mountains||118||140||82||176||67|
|Hunter New England||664||558||460||762||87.1|
|Mid North Coast||184||122||116||190||96.8|
|Year of birth–Local Health District||PDC births||RBDM births||"Births reported toboth PDC/RBDM"||"Total estimated Aboriginal births"||Level of reporting|
|South Western Sydney||161||363||97||427||37.7|
|South Eastern Sydney||86||155||37||204||42.2|
|Nepean Blue Mountains||144||209||88||265||54.3|
|Hunter New England||661||848||417||1092||60.5|
|Mid North Coast||149||157||90||216||69|
|South Western Sydney||174||387||111||450||38.7|
|South Eastern Sydney||59||254||41||272||21.7|
|Nepean Blue Mountains||148||214||92||270||54.8|
|Hunter New England||750||969||524||1195||62.8|
|Mid North Coast||172||185||107||250||68.8|
|South Western Sydney||173||334||121||386||44.8|
|South Eastern Sydney||65||145||47||163||39.9|
|Nepean Blue Mountains||118||235||82||271||43.5|
|Hunter New England||664||887||469||1082||61.4|
|Mid North Coast||184||190||122||252||73|
Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence. New South Wales Mothers and Babies 2010. Sydney: NSW Ministry of Health, 2012. Available at http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/hsnsw/Publications/mothers-and-babies-2010.pdf
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 http://www0.health.nsw.gov.au/pubs/2012/pdf/imprvd_report_pop.pdf
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 http://www1.health.nsw.gov.au/pds/ActivePDSDocuments/PD2015_025.pdf
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
NSW Ministry of Health at http://health.nsw.gov.au, 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 http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/hsnsw/Publications/mothers-and-babies-2017.pdf
Australian Bureau of Statistics at http://www.abs.gov.au, in particular see Births (ABS Cat no 3301.0)
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare at http://www.aihw.gov.au in general and in particular the AIHW's National Perinatal Statistics Unit and the annual publication: Australia’s mothers and babies.
healthdirect at http://www.healthdirect.gov.au
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: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/hsnsw/Publications/atsi-data-linkage-report.pdf
Australian Council on Healthcare Standards. Obstetrics Indicator User Manual 2013. Obstetrics version 7.2. Sydney: ACHS, 2013. Available at: https://www.ranzcog.edu.au/component/docman/doc_view/267-obstetric-indicators.html?Itemid=946">