HealthStats NSW
HealthStats NSW
HealthStats NSW

  • + Key points: Low birth weight

    Recent trends

    In 2017 there were 95,825 births to 94,449 mothers in NSW, a decrease of 1.2% from 96,971 births in 2013.  The percentage of multiple (twin and triplet) pregnancies has remained fairly stable over recent years at about 1.4%. 

    Between 2013 and 2017:

    • The proportion of mothers who were teenagers continued to fall, from 3.0% to 2.0%.

    • 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 6.7%. 

    • The perinatal mortality rate was 8.4 per 1,000 births in 2017, increased from 8.0 per 1,000 births in 2013. 

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies

    Between 2013 and 2017:

    • The number of reported births to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers increased from 3,542 to 4,251, representing 3.7% and 4.4% respectively of all babies born in NSW.

    • The percentage of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers who were teenagers fell substantially from 17.6% to 12.3%.

    • The perinatal mortality rate of 12.7 per 1,000 births in Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers in 2017 is higher than the rate of 8.2 per 1,000 births experienced among babies born to non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers.

    • The percentage of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers who commenced antenatal care before 14 weeks of pregnancy increased from 49.8% to 68.1%.  

  • + Background: Low birth weight

    Demography

    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.