On behalf of the Data Strategies & Discovery Group at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, we are pleased to announce that for the first time since 2008, information and statistics on babies born with congenital anomalies is now publicly available on our website Congenital anomalies 2016 - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (aihw.gov.au) .
Based on data from 6 jurisdictions (New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania ), the new report shows that over 8,900 babies (3%) were born with a congenital anomaly in 2016, or around 1 in every 31 babies born.
Congenital anomalies include a wide range of atypical bodily structures or functions that are present at or before birth, although they may not be detected until later in life. They are a cause of child death and disability and a major cause of perinatal death—where a baby is stillborn or dies within 28 days of birth.
Most babies (91%) with an anomaly survived their first year. Although sadly, nearly 1 in 11 (or 9%) babies with a congenital anomaly did not live past their first birthday. Around 6% of babies born with an anomaly were stillborn and 3% died in either the neonatal or post-neonatal period.
Over 400 congenital anomalies are in scope for this report, with circulatory system anomalies (related to the heart and major blood vessels) being the most common (found in 29% of babies with an anomaly), followed by musculosketal system anomalies (26%), and urinary system anomalies (15%).
By bringing together the available data, we hope to strengthen the evidence base around congenital anomalies in Australia. Further work is underway by the AIHW to build a comprehensive picture of maternal and perinatal health in Australia, including work related to the National Perinatal Data Collection and National Maternity Data Development Projects. Watch this space!
If the information presented in this article raises any issues for you, these services can help:
PANDA National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline: 1300 726 306
Sands Australia 24/7 Bereveament Support Hotline: 1300 308 307
Miracle Babies Foundation 24/7 Family Support Helpline: 1300 622 243 (1300 MBABIES)