HealthStats NSW
HealthStats NSW
HealthStats NSW

Preterm births

All countries
7.7Central and South America
6.3Southern Asia
8.3North East Asia
5.9South East Asia
7.7Middle East and Africa
8.3Eastern Europe, Russia <br/>and Central Asia
5.7Western and Northern Europe
7Southern Europe
7.9Melanesia, Micronesia <br/>and Polynesia
9.4English speaking countries
  • + Source

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

  • + Notes

    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.

    Eastern Europe group includes Baltic States.

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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

    • Codes: Country of birth in Perinatal Data Collection


      Country of birth in the Perinatal Data Collection is classified on the basis of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2011, Version 2.2 ( features222011).

      The table below indicates the relation between the SACC classification and the groupings used for the indicator.


      Country of birth categories used for reporting of PDC data

      SACC 2011 V2.2

      Major groups

      SACC 2011 V2.2

      Minor groups

      SACC 2011 V2.2


      English speaking countries   11, 12, 21, 22, 81 9225
      Melanesia, Micronesia & Polynesia   13, 14, 15  
      Southern Europe   31, 32  
      Western and Northern Europe   23, 24  
      Eastern Europe*, Russia and Central Asian States   33, 72  
      Middle East and Africa 4, 9   excluding 9225
      South East Asia 5    
      North East Asia 6    
      Southern Asia   71  
      Central and South America   82, 83, 84  
      Other and not stated countries 0** 16 1000, 2000, 3000, 7000, 8000


      * Eastern Europe group includes Baltic States

      ** Supplementary codes for inadequate data, former countries and other geographic entities, economic and other country groups, and other entities.

  • + 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 6.0% to 6.4%.

      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%.

    • 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: Tuesday, 15 October 2019