Maternal characteristics

Key demographics

This section presents data on maternal and medical characteristics, as supplied to the National Perinatal Data Collection (NPDC), which have been commonly associated with stillbirth or neonatal death.

While these characteristics are more commonly found in women with pregnancies resulting in stillbirth and neonatal death, they are characteristics that are numerically associated with perinatal death and it is not implied that they are the cause of perinatal deaths.

In 2017, there were:

  • 9.6 perinatal deaths per 1,000 births (2,924 deaths)
  • 7.1 stillbirths per 1,000 births (2,173 deaths)
  • 2.5 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births (751 deaths).

Perinatal mortality rates were higher among babies born to:

  • women who were aged under 20, 20-24 and 40 and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
  • women who lived in Very remote areas
  • women living in the most disadvantaged areas of Australia (quintiles 1 and 2).

Perinatal mortality rates, by state or territory of birth, 2017

The horizontal bar charts show that the rate of stillbirths ranged between 5.6 deaths per 1,000 births to 10.3 deaths per 1,000 births. The neonatal death rates ranged from 1.7 per 1,000 live births to 6.0 per 1,000 live births.

For 2017, NSW perinatal mortality data were not available at the time of production for this report. Where possible in this report, preliminary perinatal deaths data for NSW for 2017 supplied to the National Perinatal Data Collection have been used.

There was little overall difference in perinatal mortality rates for babies of women born in Australia compared to babies of women born overseas. The highest rates of perinatal death were among babies of mothers whose country of birth was in:

  • Melanesia (including Papua New Guinea)
  • Central and West Africa
  • North Africa.

Detailed country of birth data can be found in the supplementary data tables.