Antenatal care in the first trimester

Antenatal care is a planned visit between a pregnant woman and a midwife or doctor to assess and improve the wellbeing of the mother and baby throughout pregnancy. Antenatal care is associated with positive maternal and child health outcomes. For more information, see Clinical commentary.

This indicator examines antenatal care visits in the first trimester and in the first 10 weeks for all women giving birth. It does not include visits where the sole purpose is to confirm the pregnancy.

Key findings

  • Women in their 30s were most likely to receive antenatal care (around 80% in 2020) compared to those younger than 20 (69% in 2020) though the gap between age groups has decreased since 2011.
  • Women living in a Major city (79%), Outer regional (82%) or Inner regional (82%) area had higher rates of antenatal care than those living in a Remote (74%) or Very remote (71%) area in 2020.

The interactive data visualisation below presents data on antenatal care for all women giving birth in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy and in the first trimester by selected maternal characteristics. Click the Data tables button to view the data between 2011 and 2020 and use the radio buttons to see how each characteristic has changed during this time.

Antenatal care in the first trimester for all women giving birth, by State/territory of birth and all Australia, 2011 to 2020.

This chart shows the proportion of women giving birth who received antenatal care in the first trimester (before 14 weeks gestation), by state/territory of birth, 2011 to 2020.  Data can be viewed for each state/territory of birth, and for all Australia. The proportion for all Australian mothers increased from 66% in 2011 to 79% in 2020.

Another smoking antenatal care indicator can be selected showing the proportion of women giving birth who had their first antenatal visit within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. The proportion has increased from 38% in 2011 to 59% in 2020.

Clinical commentary

Antenatal care is a system of regular assessments by a midwife or doctor throughout the course of the pregnancy that provides the opportunity to promote healthy lifestyles, screen for and—if necessary—treat health problems to benefit both mother and baby (WHO 2016). Commencing regular antenatal care in the first trimester (before 14 weeks of gestation) is associated with better maternal health in pregnancy, fewer interventions in late pregnancy and positive child health outcomes (AIHW 2022; DoH 2020). The Australian Pregnancy Care Guidelines (DoH 2020) recommend that a woman has her first antenatal visit within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

The first contact with a woman in the antenatal period may be when she attends primary care usually a general practitioner (GP), to confirm the pregnancy. Women will either start antenatal care at that point or be referred to a maternity care provider or service; for example, a midwife, obstetrician, GP, or Aboriginal health service (DoH 2020).

Indicator specifications and data

Excel source data tables are available from the Data tab.

For more information refer to Specifications and notes for analysis in the technical notes.