Summary

Birth rate is falling and mothers are older

In 2017, the rate of women aged 15–44 giving birth was slightly lower than a decade ago (59.6 per 1,000 women in 2017 compared with 65.9 per 1,000 in 2007). The average age of women who gave birth has increased from 29.9 years in 2007 to 30.6 in 2017.

Most mothers access antenatal care and fewer mothers are smoking

In 2017, 72% of women who gave birth accessed antenatal care in the first trimester of their pregnancy, and 94% had 5 or more visits. The proportion of women who report smoking at any time during pregnancy has fallen from 13.7% in 2010 to 9.9% in 2017.

One in 3 mothers gave birth by caesarean section

The rate of women giving birth by caesarean section has continued to rise, from 31% in 2007 to 35% in 2017.

Rates of pre-term birth and low birthweight are stable

There has been little change in the proportion of pre-term (ranged from 8.1% to 8.7% between 2007 and 2017), and low birthweight babies (ranged from 6.2% to 6.7% between 2007 and 2017).

Positive trends for Indigenous mothers

There were improvements over the past decade in antenatal care attendance in the first trimester (from 48% in 2012 to 62% in 2017), smoking at any time during pregnancy (from 49% in 2010 to 44% in 2017) and the proportion of babies born to Indigenous mothers who were small for gestational age (from 14.4% in 2013 to 13.7% in 2017).