Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2021) National Core Maternity Indicators, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 26 May 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). National Core Maternity Indicators. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mothers-babies/national-core-maternity-indicators
National Core Maternity Indicators. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 18 November 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mothers-babies/national-core-maternity-indicators
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. National Core Maternity Indicators [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021 [cited 2022 May. 26]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mothers-babies/national-core-maternity-indicators
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2021, National Core Maternity Indicators, viewed 26 May 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mothers-babies/national-core-maternity-indicators
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Title: Apgar score of less than 7 at 5 minutes for births at or after term, by State/territory of birth and all Australia, 2007 to 2019.
This chart shows the proportion of babies with an Apgar score of less than 7 at 5 minutes for births at or after term, by state/territory of birth, 2007 to 2019. Data can be viewed for each state/territory of birth, and for all Australia. The proportion of babies with an Apgar score of less than 7 at 5 minutes for births at or after term, for all Australia showed an increasing trend from 0.9% in 2004 to 2006, peaking at 1.4% in 2016, with rates of 1.3% in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Apgar scores are clinical indicators of a baby’s condition shortly after birth. The score is based on five characteristics of the baby: skin colour, pulse, breathing, muscle tone and reflex irritability. Each characteristic is given between 0 and 2 points, with a total score between 0 and 10 points (AIHW 2021).
An Apgar score of 7 or more at 5 minutes after birth indicates the baby is adapting well to the environment, while a score of less than 7 indicates complications for the baby (AIHW 2021). Between 2004 and 2019 there has been a noticeable increase in the incidence of babies born at or after term with an Apgar score less than 7 at 5 minutes. The cause of this change is not clear.
Apgar scores at 5 minutes of less than 7 are not specific to any condition and may reflect congenital anomaly, prematurity, perinatal infection, effects of drugs given to the mother for pain relief or anaesthesia, ineffective resuscitation or prolonged hypoxia before birth (Li et al. 2013). Maternal factors such as increased maternal age, obesity, maternal morbidity, especially diabetes, and maternal smoking during pregnancy, may contribute to a baby being born with a low Apgar score (Kharkova et al. 2017; Straube et al. 2010; Zhu et al. 2015).
Excel source data tables are available from the Data tab.
For more information refer to Specifications and notes for analysis in the technical notes.
AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2021. Australia’s mothers and babies. Cat. no. PER 101. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 30 September 2021.
Kharkova O, Grjibovski A, Krettek A, Nieboer E & Odland J 2017. Effect of smoking behaviour before and during pregnancy on selected birth outcomes among singleton full-term pregnancy: A Murmask country birth registry study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 14(8):867.
Li F, Wu T, Lei X, Zhang H, Mao M & Zhang J 2013. The Apgar score and infant mortality. Public Library of Science 8(7):e69072.
Straube S, Voigt M, Jorch G, Hallier E, Briese V & Borchardt U 2010. Investigation of the association of Apgar score with maternal socio-economics and biological factors: an analysis of German perinatal statistics. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics 282(2):135–141.
Zhu T, Tang J, Zhao F, Qu Y & Mu D 2015. Association between maternal obesity and offspring Apgar score or cord pH: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Scientific Reports 5:18386.
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