Babies are born healthy

Babies are born healthy is a dashboard report that visually displays data by region, for six key measures that may affect the early development and outcomes of children born in South Australia.

The two key measures for babies and four key pregnancy measures for mothers are:


  1. born with low birthweight[1]
  2. considered small for gestational age at birth[2] (noting that babies born prematurely may have low birthweight but may not be small for their gestational age and gender)


  1. attending five or more antenatal visits during pregnancy
  2. attending at least one antenatal visit in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy
  3. smoking in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy
  4. under 20 years of age when giving birth (also referred to as teenage pregnancies).

The dashboard measures indicate some of the following favourable changes:

  • a significant decrease in smoking during pregnancy
  • most mothers attend antenatal visits during pregnancy
  • more than 80% of mothers attend antenatal visits early in pregnancy
  • a reduction in teenage pregnancies in most regions.

In South Australia, the proportion of mothers who smoke in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and the proportion who continue to smoke after 20 weeks of pregnancy, have reduced significantly over the last 10 years. More than 80% of mothers attend antenatal care in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. Most mothers (96%) attend five or more antenatal care visits, and a significant majority (more than 80%) attend seven or more visits. Only 0.2% of mothers do not receive antenatal care.

Issues which may need further monitoring and/or investigation in South Australia include:

  • erratic trends for low birthweight data
  • reducing rates of antenatal attendance in early pregnancy in some regions
  • smoking and teenage pregnancy of mothers in low socioeconomic circumstances.

In the decade to 2018, low birthweight levels have fluctuated across South Australia, for example, from 2016 to 2018, some regions have trended favourably (eg Marion and Outback – North and East) and others unfavourably (eg West Torrens, and Murray and Mallee).

The proportion of mothers who attend antenatal care visits in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy has declined in some regions of Adelaide (eg Port Adelaide – East and West) and inner regional South Australia, (eg Fleurieu – Kangaroo Island, and Barossa).

There are two measures of potential concern for mothers in low socioeconomic circumstances; smoking during pregnancy and teenage pregnancy (although the 2016-2018 trend data for both appear to be favourable, the number of mothers in each measure is of concern).

This dashboard features a multi-dimensional approach to reviewing and reporting data for 2018 and includes comparison data and trend analysis for 2016-2018:

  • each of the six measures is benchmarked against whole-of-state totals to illustrate how each region is faring in terms of births and pregnancies, and identifies any measures that may require further analysis
  • for most measures, three years of trend data are not statistically significant. However, the data may represent a preliminary indication of improvement for some of the measures
  • benchmarking of whole-of-state and national totals. Where possible, the data are also benchmarked internationally with OECD data.

[1]      Babies with low birthweight include all live births of babies weighing less than 2,500g (5lb 8oz).

[2]      Babies considered small for gestational age include all live births of babies with a birthweight below the 10th percentile for their gestational age and gender.