Labour and birth indicators
The National Core Maternity Indicators (NCMIs) associated with labour and birth present information on measures of clinical activity and outcomes between 2004 and 2021. This section examines key measures related to labour and birth for selected women and for all women.
Data for these indicators are presented by jurisdiction of birth, hospital annual number of births, and hospital sector. Some indicators are presented by mother’s age at birth, mother’s First Nations status, remoteness of mother’s usual residence, disadvantage quintile of mother’s usual residence, and other data groupings where relevant.
Selected women are those who are giving birth for the first time and meet all the following criteria:
- 20 to 34 years of age at the time of giving birth
- gave birth at term (gestational age at birth between 37 and 40 completed weeks)
- pregnancy had one baby only (singleton pregnancy)
- baby’s head was at the cervix (vertex presentation).
Comparison of ‘selected’ groups of women allows for an indication of standard practice. Selected women, for this indicator, refers to a cohort of mothers who are expected to have reduced labour complications and better birth outcomes. However, this cohort may include women with other medical and obstetric complications such as hypertensive disorders, diabetes, and obesity. The proportion of selected women is approximately one-quarter (26%) of all women who gave birth in 2021.
During labour and birth
Four labour and birth indicators are presented in this report for selected women giving birth for the first time and a further 3 are presented for all women giving birth. Table 2 shows the proportion of women for the current year (2021) and the baseline year for each indicator, enabling comparison between these 2 points in time.
|Baseline year (%)
|Current year 2021 (%)
|Induction of labour for selected women giving birth for the first time
|Caesarean section for selected women giving birth for the first time
|Non-instrumental vaginal birth for selected women giving birth for the first time
|Instrumental vaginal birth for selected women giving birth for the first time
|Episiotomy for women having their first baby and giving birth vaginally without instruments to assist the birth
|Episiotomy for women having their first baby and giving birth vaginally assisted with instruments
|General anaesthetic for women giving birth by caesarean section
|Women having their second birth vaginally whose first birth was by caesarean section