Starting well and the early years


In summary

  • South Australia's total fertility rate is 1.87 births per woman, higher in Country SA than metropolitan Adelaide. The state's TFR is equal to the national average (also 1.87).
  • The median age at which women in South Australia give birth is 30.5 years, comparable to the national median maternal age of 30.8 years.
  • Only a small fraction (3.2%) of births in South Australia are to women aged 19 years or less, while one in five (20.8%) 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.
  • Over four in five (80.8%) 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 significantly lower, at 53.4%.
  • One in seven (14.5%) women who give birth in South Australia report being smokers at their first antenatal visit. The corresponding rate for Aboriginal women is significantly higher at 51.5%.
  • There has been a significant increase in the prevalence of gestational diabetes among women who give birth in South Australia over the last decade, and now affects 8.2% of women who give birth.
  • Over a quarter (28.0%) of women in South Australia who give birth are overweight during their pregnancy and a similar proportion (24.4%) are recorded as being obese.
  • There are over 20,000 people born in South Australia every year into a total population of 1.7 million, representing a crude birth rate of 12.1 births per 1000 population. The crude birth rate in South Australia has been declining since 2008.
  • The average birthweight of liveborn babies in South Australia is 3,327 grams, while around one in 14 (7.2%) babies are liveborn with low birthweight, a higher rate than the 6.4% nationally.
  • Over a third (34.0%) of all births in South Australia are by Caesarean section.
  • A very small fraction (2.8%) 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 (91.3%) of children aged five years in South Australia are fully immunised. Full vaccination coverage for Aboriginal children by age five has increased substantially over recent years, and is now above the overall state figure, at 92.1%.
  • Around a quarter (23.0%) of non-Aboriginal 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.