Starting well and the early years


In summary

  • South Australia's total fertility rate is 1.79 births per woman, higher in Country SA than metropolitan Adelaide. The state's TFR is equal to the national average (also 1.79).
  • The median age at which women in South Australia give birth is 30.8 years, comparable to the national median maternal age of 31.1 years.
  • Only a small fraction (2.4%) of births in South Australia are to women aged 19 years or less, while around one in five (21.3%) 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 three quarters (78.2%) 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 56.5%.
  • One in eight (12.5%) women who give birth in South Australia report being smokers at their first antenatal visit. The corresponding rate for Aboriginal women is higher at 48.4%.
  • There has been a more than doubling in the prevalence of gestational diabetes among women who give birth in South Australia over the last decade, a condition that now affects 10.4% 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.
  • Around 20,000 people are born in South Australia every year into a total population of 1.7 million, representing a crude birth rate of 11.5 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 3,324 grams, while around one in 14 (7.1%) babies are liveborn with low birthweight (<2,500g), a higher rate than the 6.5% nationally.
  • Over a third (35.1%) of all births in South Australia are by Caesarean section.
  • A very small fraction (2.6%) 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 (93.5%) 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 93.0%, comparable to the overall state figure.
  • 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.