18 November 2018
A decline in smoking in pregnancy and more women accessing first trimester antenatal appointments are among the positive health outcomes in the 2017 Mothers and Babies Report, released today.

The statewide Perinatal Data Collection collected information on 94,449 women who gave birth to 95,825 babies across 108 NSW public and private hospitals in 2017, and found a number of improvements in health trends including:

  • Smoking in pregnancy dropped from 9.7 per cent in 2013 to 8.8 per cent in 2017;
  • More women across NSW are going to their first antenatal appointment in their first trimester - in 2013 it was 60 per cent, rising to 73.1 per cent in 2017;
  • Teenage pregnancies fell from 3 per cent of mothers in 2013 to 2 per cent in 2017;
  • Pregnancies in Aboriginal women under 20 years of age have dropped from 17.6 per cent to 12.3 per cent since 2013;
  • Aboriginal women are better informed about health services available to them: 68.1 per cent attended their first antenatal appointment in their first trimester in 2017 compared to 49.8 per cent in 2013.

“Less smoking in pregnancy, fewer teenage pregnancies and earlier antenatal care all contribute to a healthy start to life for NSW children.” said Professor Michael Nicholl, from the Ministry of Health.

Other noteworthy statistics include the average age of women having their first baby has increased from 28.9 years in 2013 to 29.4 last year, while fewer women across NSW are having babies – 94,449 last year compared to 95,537 in 2013.

There was also a wide range of maternal ages for mums depending on where you live: 13.7 per cent of women from the Far West LHD had a baby at age 35 or over, compared to 40.1 per cent in Northern Sydney.

Caesarean sections increased to 33.8 per cent of all births in NSW last year, while planned caesareans increased from 18.7 per cent in 2013 to 21.3 per cent last year.

NSW Health has programs to deliver improved health outcomes for mothers and babies including $9.5 million for smoking cessation via the Quit For New Life program and $7 million for the Aboriginal Maternal and Infant Health Service annually.

To promote the health of pregnant women, in the 2018-19 Budget as part of the $157 million Parent Package, the NSW Government committed $9.3 million to providing 100 more midwives to support maternity service growth across the state.