- + Key points: Mothers and babies
In 2016 there were 98,727 births to 97,306 mothers in NSW, a decrease of 0.8% from 99,510 births in 2012. The percentage of multiple (twin and triplet) pregnancies has remained fairly stable over recent years at about 1.4%.
Between 2012 and 2016:
• The proportion of mothers who were teenagers continued to fall, from 3.2% in 2012 to 2.2% in 2016.
• The proportion of births to mothers over 35 years of age has remained stable.
• The proportion of mothers who smoked at all during pregnancy fell from 10.4% in 2012 to 8.3% in 2016.
• The proportion of babies with low birth weight remained stable over the period, ranging from 6.1% to 6.6%.
• The proportion of preterm births was 7.3% of all births in 2016, a decrease from 7.6% in 2012.
• The perinatal mortality rate was 7.5 per 1,000 births in 2016, decreasing from 8.3 per 1,000 births in 2012.
• In 2016, there were 260 infant deaths in NSW, which was 2.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. The infant mortality rate in Australia was 3.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2016.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies
• Between 2012 and 2016, the number of reported births to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers increased from 3,399 to 4,174, representing 3.4% and 4.2% respectively of all babies born in NSW.
•Between 2012 and 2016, the percentage of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers who were teenagers fell substantially from 18.6% in 2012 to 12.8% in 2016.
•Between 2012 and 2016, the percentage of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers who commenced antenatal care before 14 weeks of pregnancy increased from 51.0% to 64.6%.
• The proportion of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers smoking in pregnancy was 41.3% in 2016 compared with 49.9% in 2012.
• The perinatal mortality rate among babies born to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers was 12.2 per 1,000 in 2016, higher than the rate of 7.3 per 1,000 for babies born to non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mothers.
- + Background: Mothers and babies
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.
- + For more information: 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-2016.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