• In 1992, 262,726 babies born to 259,156 mothers were notified to perinatal data collections in the States and Territories. These included 868 mothers who had home births and 7,257 Aboriginal mothers.
  • There were 14,396 teenage mothers, including 1,612 who were 16 years or younger and another 2,503 aged 17 years; teenage mothers accounted for 5.6 per cent of all mothers.
  • The regions with the largest number of Aboriginal mothers were Queensland (2,316), New South Wales (1,428), Western Australia (1,418), and the Northern Territory (1,243). Aboriginal mothers were younger and had higher parity than other mothers. The average age of Aboriginal mothers was 23.7 years, 4.4 years less than for all mothers in Australia.
  • More than 1 in 5 (22.7 per cent) mothers were born in other countries, including 5.6 per cent in the United Kingdom, 6.3 per cent in Asia (1.4 per cent in Vietnam, 1.0 per cent in the Philippines, and 0.7 per cent in China), 2.4 per cent in New Zealand, and 1.3 per cent in Lebanon.
  • Multiple births occurred in 3,455 (1.3 per cent) confinements. There were 3,346 twin confinements, 105 sets of triplets, 2 sets of quadruplets, and 2 sets of quintuplets.
  • There were 47,485 deliveries by caesarean section. The caesarean rate of 18.3 per cent in 1992 was slightly higher than the rate of 18.0 per cent in 1991 and continued the increasing trend nationally. South Australia (22.1 per cent) and Queensland (20.9 per cent) had the highest caesarean rates and Tasmania (16.1 per cent) the lowest. More than one in four mothers who had private accommodation in hospital in South Australia and Queensland had their babies by caesarean section. Women having their first baby in their 30s had high caesarean rates. Those aged 30 to 34 and 35 to 39 years with public accommodation in hospital had caesarean rates of 23.7 per cent and 32.0 per cent, respectively; those in the same age groups with private accommodation in hospital had rates of 28.1 per cent and 37.4 per cent, respectively.
  • There were 16,493 babies of low birthweight (less than 2,500g) born in 1992, 6.3 per cent of all births. The mean birthweight of babies of Aboriginal mothers was 3,150g, 206g less than for all births; low birthweight occurred in 12.9 per cent of these babies.
  • In the period from 1973 to 1992, the fetal death rate declined by 47 per cent to 5.6 per 1,000 births, the neonatal death rate by 66 per cent to 3.8 per 1,000 live births, and the perinatal death rate by 57 per cent to 9.4 per 1,000 births. In 1991, the survival rates to 28 days of low birthweight babies was 58 per cent for those weighing 500 to 999g, 92.1 per cent for babies of 1,000 to 1,499g, and 97.2 per cent for babies of 1,500 to 1,999g. In 1990-1992, the perinatal death rate in twins was 4.1 times higher than in singleton births; it was 6.7 times higher in other multiple births than in singletons.
  • The survival rates to 28 days of extremely low birthweight infants (less than 1,000g) born in selected hospitals with neonatal intensive care units in the early 1990s were strongly associated with birthweight. The survival rate increased from between 28 and 44 per cent for infants of 500 to 599g to about 55 per cent for infants of 600 to 699g, 59 to 76 per cent for infants of 700 to 799g, more than 80 per cent for infants of 800 to 899g, and almost 90 per cent for infants of 900 to 999g.