AIHW Board AIHW senior staff Annual report Capability statement Collaboration AIHW corporate plan 2016–17 to 2019–20 Customer care charter FOI - freedom of information Indexed list of files Nous review Organisation chart Presentations Privacy of data Public Interest Disclosure Tenders
By category Ageing, disability & carers Families & children Hospitals Housing & homelessness Indigenous Australians Population groups Risk factors, diseases & death Services, workforce & spending
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases
Chronic kidney disease Chronic respiratory conditions COPD Deaths Dementia Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition Health indicators Health performance Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Injury Life expectancy
Male health Mental health Mothers & babies Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Primary health care Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Data Publications Contact AIHW
Publications CatalogueOrdering publicationsForthcoming publications Online reports Subscribe to release notices
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs AIHW annual reports Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases Chronic kidney disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Corporate publications Data linkage Data standards Deaths Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition General practice Health indicators Health performance Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Indigenous housing
Injury Life expectancy Male health Mental health services Mothers & babies Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Primary health carePrisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Subjects Data Contact AIHW
About AIHW data METeOR—metadata online registry Data by subject AIHW data collections Customised data analysis request Data governance framework Data linking Data standards GovHack Privacy of data Accessing Australian Government health and welfare data
By subjectAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework Adoptions Aged care Alcohol and other drugs Alcohol data sources Body weight data sources Cancer Children's headline indicators (CHI) Child protection Data sources for monitoring health conditionsDeaths Diabetes Disability
Expenditure FHBH - Fixing houses for better health General Record of Incidence of Mortality (GRIM) books Height and weight data sources Hospitals Indigenous Australians International collaboration Maternity Information Matrix (MIM) Medical indemnity Mental health Mortality Over Regions and Time (MORT) books National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse
National core maternity indicators (NCMI) National framework for protecting Australia’s children (NFPAC) National indicator catalogue National Youth Information Framework (NYIF) Perinatal data Primary Health Network (PHN) Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Tobacco data sources Workforce
In other sections Subjects Publications Contact AIHW
AACR ACFADD AHSAC AIHW Board AIHW Ethics Committee AODTS NMDS WG CKDMAC CMAG CVDMAC HEAC
IGIHM JJ RIG MHISSC NAGATSIHID NCSIMG NDDWG NDIMG NHISSC NIAG NIRAPIMG NMDDNMDS
NMHPSC NOPSAD NPDDC NPHEP NPHIC PCDWG PDWG PHIDG PHIG REDWG Workforce committees
Education worksheets Infographics What's in the pipeline Subscribe to education notices Other educational links
Resources by subject All Latest Ageing Australia's health Australia's welfare Carers
Children & youth Disability Disease Drugs
Health Health prevention Indigenous Australians Injury
In other sections Subjects Data Publications Contact AIHW
Job vacancies How to apply for a position at the AIHW Conditions of employment Benefits of working for the AIHW Temporary employment register Occupational Training Program Contact the People Unit Graduates
AIHW Access magazine Media releases Subscribe to release notices Embargoed access to AIHW material Media contacts
You are here:
The risk of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mother giving birth to a low birthweight baby has fallen significantly, according to a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
While Indigenous mothers are still twice as likely as non-Indigenous mothers to have babies of low birthweight (12.6% and 6.0% respectively), AIHW analyses showed that the low birthweight rate among babies of Indigenous mothers dropped by almost one tenth (9%) between 2000 and 2011, according to the Birthweight of babies born to Indigenous mothers report.
AIHW spokesperson Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman said that this drop in the low birthweight rate for Indigenous women had led to a significant narrowing of the gap in the low birthweight rate between Indigenous and non-Indigenous mothers over the decade.
Dr Al-Yaman said low birthweight is associated with a range of adverse health outcomes, including fetal and neonatal death and morbidity, and the development of chronic diseases later in life.
According to the report, 11,729 Indigenous mothers gave birth to 11,895 babies in 2011, representing 4% of all babies born in that year. Nearly all (99%) births to Indigenous mothers in 2011 were live births (rather than stillborn)-the same proportion as for births to non-Indigenous mothers.
In 2011, 12.6% of babies born to Indigenous mothers were of low birthweight (less than 2,500 grams), 86.0% were of normal birthweight (between 2,500 grams and 4,499 grams) and 1.4% were of high birthweight (4,500 grams or more).
Dr Al-Yaman said a range of factors were associated with birthweight, including maternal smoking during pregnancy, antenatal care and pre-term births.
'Half of all Indigenous mothers who gave birth in 2011 reported smoking during pregnancy compared with 12% of non-Indigenous mothers. The smoking rate among Indigenous mothers fell from 54% in 2005 to 50% in 2011-with a greater fall in the rate among non-Indigenous mothers-highlighting considerable scope for further improvements ,' Dr Al-Yaman said.
There were also improvements in antenatal care and pre-term births for Indigenous women over the decade. The rate of Indigenous women attending at least one antenatal session increased between 2000 and 2011, while the rate of pre-term births declined.
'In 2011, 12.5% of liveborn babies of Indigenous mothers were born pre-term compared with 7.5% of babies born to non-Indigenous mothers, but the gap between the two had narrowed over the decade,' Dr Al-Yaman said.
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.
Canberra, 5 August 2014
Further information: Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman, tel. (02) 6244 1167 or (02) 6244 1146, mob. 0407 068 033 (for after-hours contact only)
Full publication: Birthweight of babies born to Indigenous mothers