Quality and availability of National Maternal Mortality data

Data sources

This report is compiled from data held by the AIHW in the National Maternal Mortality Data Collection (NMMDC). Data are provided by states and territories and contain information on the deaths of women reported to have died while pregnant or within 42 days of the end of pregnancy between 2006 and 2017.  

Due to its health and privacy legislation, only limited summary data on maternal deaths from 2006–2015 were supplied by Western Australia. As these data provided are already aggregated, rather than provided by case, they cannot be included in the NMMDC but are included in analysis where possible.

Data on maternal deaths were not provided for inclusion in this report for 2016 and 2017 from Western Australia.

For more information on this collection, visit the NMMDC Data Quality Statement.

Data were also sourced from the AIHW’s National Perinatal Data Collection (NPDC) which includes accurate general population data for the number of women in Australia who gave birth to at least 1 baby (either a live birth or a stillbirth) of 20 weeks’ completed gestation or more or birthweight of 400 grams or more. For more information on this collection visit the NPDC Data Quality Statement.

State and territory health departments are acknowledged for their contribution to both the NMMDC and NPDC.

Data timeliness

NMMDC data are collected annually. Most jurisdictions need at least 12–18 months lead time to undertake post-mortem investigations, classification, data entry and validation as required after the end of a data collection period. Deaths subject to coronial inquiry may take longer to finalise.

Timelines for the reporting of 2017 maternal deaths data are outlined in Figure 1. These data were finalised and reported 23 months after the end of the collection period.

Figure 1: Months since the end of the 2017 calendar period and public reporting of National Maternal Mortality Data Collection, by jurisdiction

This figure shows the 2017 maternal deaths data was finalised and released publicly 23 months after the end of the collection period.

Data availability

Detailed information on completeness for all data items in the NMMDC is available in the interactive data visualisation below by jurisdiction for 2012 to 2017.

Definitions for the terms used to quantify completeness:

  • Supplied – Stated: supplied an appropriate value for a proportion of records for the data item during specified collection year/s
  • Not supplied/stated: proportion of values supplied as not stated or missing, where a jurisdiction has either supplied appropriate values for a portion of records or did not supply any value for all records for the data item during the specified collection year/s.

Due to its health and privacy legislation, only limited summary data on maternal deaths from 2006–2015 were supplied by Western Australia. As these data provided are already aggregated, rather than provided by case, they cannot be included in the NMMDC so have not been included in the data visualisation below, but are included in analysis where possible.

Visualisation not available for printing