Starting well and the early years


In summary

  • South Australia's total fertility rate (TFR) is 1.74 births per woman, higher in Country SA than metropolitan Adelaide. The state's TFR is equal to the national average (also 1.74).
  • The median age at which women in South Australia give birth is 30.9 years, comparable to the national median maternal age of 31.2 years.
  • Only a small fraction (2.3%) of births in South Australia are to women aged 19 years or less, while around one in five (22.1%) of births are to women aged 35 years or older.
  • Around 1 in 13 (7.7%) of South Australians are aware that a woman should take folic acid before pregnancy, and in the first three months of pregnancy, to reduce her chance of having a baby with spina bifida. The level of awareness in the community of the benefits of folic acid before and during pregnancy has decreased substantially over recent years.
  • More than four in five (83.4%) women who give birth in South Australia have their first antenatal visit within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, although the rate for Aboriginal women is lower, at 63.3%.
  • Around one in nine (11.3%) women who give birth in South Australia report being smokers at their first antenatal visit. The corresponding rate for Aboriginal women is higher at 47.6%. There is a drop in reported smoking rates between the first antenatal visit and second half of pregnancy.
  • There has been a roughly tripling in the prevalence of gestational diabetes among women who give birth in South Australia over the last decade, a condition that now affects 13.7% of women who give birth.
  • Over a quarter (27.7%) of women in South Australia who give birth are overweight during their pregnancy and a similar proportion (24.9%) are recorded as being obese.
  • Around 19,000 people are born in South Australia every year into a total population of 1.7 million, representing a crude birth rate of 11.1 births per 1000 population. The crude birth rate in South Australia has been declining since 2007.
  • The average birthweight of liveborn babies in South Australia is 3,330 grams, while around one in 15 (6.8%) babies are liveborn with low birthweight (<2,500g), comparable to the 6.7% nationally.
  • Over a third (34.8%) of all births in South Australia are by Caesarean section.
  • A small fraction (2.7%) of babies are born with congenital anomalies in South Australia.
  • Over half (57.8%) of South Australian children receive a fourth year developmental health check assessing their physical health, general wellbeing, and development.
  • Over nine in ten (94.2%) of children aged five years in South Australia are fully immunised. Full vaccination coverage for Aboriginal children at age five has increased substantially over recent years and is now at 95.5%, higher than the overall state figure.
  • Over a quarter (28.4%) of children aged 5-17 years in South Australia are overweight or obese, while over a third (37.6%) of Aboriginal children in the same age cohort are also overweight or obese.