Data on four key maternal and child health indicators have been updated in this release — smoking during pregnancy, child and infant mortality, low birthweight babies, and antenatal visits in the first trimester of pregnancy. Indicators are reported nationally, by Primary Health Network (PHN) areas and by smaller local areas.
Nationally, the data revealed that in 2014–2016:
- The proportion of women who reported smoking during pregnancy was 10.4%. However, there are substantial differences across Australia. In regional PHN areas 16.6% of mothers reported smoking at some point during pregnancy, compared with 7.5% in metropolitan PHN areas.
- The infant and young child mortality rate was 3.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. Regional PHN areas reported a rate of 4.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, 1.3 times the rate for metropolitan PHN areas (3.3 per 1,000 live births).
- The proportion of low birthweight babies was 5.0%, with little difference between regional PHN areas (5.3%) and metropolitan PHN areas (4.8%).
- More than 6 in 10 (65%) mothers attended at least one antenatal visit in the first trimester of pregnancy.
All measures presented in the report are by PHN area. Local-level data are available for all women and their babies by Statistical Areas Level 3, and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their babies by Statistical Area Level 4 in the downloadable data and on the National overview pages for each of the indicators.
In 2014–2016 a higher proportion of women in regional areas than in metropolitan areas smoked during pregnancy:
- Regional: 16.6%
- Metro: 7.5%
- National: 10.4%
Almost 1 in 2 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women smoked during pregnancy:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: 45.2%