Hospital length of stay (baby)

Over time, babies’ length of stay in hospital after birth has generally been getting shorter. The proportion of stays of 3 days or less has risen and stays of 4 days or more has fallen. Data exclude Western Australia.

A number of factors influence a baby’s length of stay in hospital, including birthweight and gestational age: babies who had a low birthweight or who were born pre-term (both 3 in 5) were much more likely to stay in hospital for 6 days or more, compared with term babies (1 in 25) and normal birthweight babies (1 in 20).

Babies who stayed in hospital for 6 or more days were more likely to be:

  • Indigenous 
  • born to Indigenous mothers
  • born in a private hospital
  • born to mothers aged 40 or older
  • born to mothers who smoked
  • born by caesarean section
  • low birthweight
  • born pre-term
  • part of a multiple birth
  • born to mothers from Very remote areas
  • babies who had an Apgar score of less than 7, indicating that they have not adapted well post-birth. 

It is important to note that many of these factors are potentially interrelated, for example, older mothers are more likely to give birth in private hospitals.