Admission to a special care nursery or neonatal intensive care unit

Babies are admitted to a special care nursery (SCN) or neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) if they require more specialised medical care and treatment than is available on the postnatal ward. Data are limited to liveborn babies who were born in hospital and discharged home, and exclude New South Wales and Western Australia.

One in five babies required admission to SCN or NICU. Babies were more likely to require admission if they were born pre-term, Indigenous, of low birthweight or part of a multiple birth.

Mothers were more likely to have a baby admitted to SCN or NICU if they were aged under 20, or 40 or older, were Indigenous, smoked during pregnancy or gave birth by caesarean section. The admission rate was also slightly higher among babies whose mothers lived in the lowest socioeconomic areas compared with those whose mothers lived in the highest socioeconomic areas.