Both maternal and paternal factors are important for a healthy pregnancy and birth. These factors can be broadly characterised as biological, social determinants of health, ecological factors and individual factors. Supporting mothers and fathers prior to, during and after pregnancy (the perinatal period) and promoting an optimal environment up to the child’s second birthday has become a priority internationally.
A comprehensive Queensland Mothers and Babies report was recently released (see Additional info). This section provides selected high level maternal and perinatal health indicators by regions in Queensland.
Figure 1 includes selected perinatal health indicators for females 15 to 49 years for Queensland HHS and PHN regions.
In 2021, the regions with the highest birth rates among women 15 to 49 years in Queensland were North West HHS (8.1%), South West HHS (7.8%) and Torres and Cape HHS (6.4%).
Smoking during pregnancy and maternal obesity are risk factors associated with poor birth outcomes and there is a higher risk of birth complications when the mother is older.
- The regions with the highest rates of smoking during pregnancy were Torres and Cape HHS (44.8%) and North West HHS (28.3%).
- The regions with the highest rates of maternal obesity were Torres and Cape HHS (33.6%), West Moreton HHS (32.6%), and Darling Downs HHS (29.6%).
- The regions with the highest percentage of mothers 35 years and older were Metro North HHS (27.0%), Gold Coast HHS (25.1%) and Metro South HHS (24.8%).
In 2019–2021, the regions with the highest percentage of mothers attending eight or more antenatal visits were Metro North HHS (88.8%), Mackay HHS (87.2%) and Darling Downs HHS (86.8%).
Babies and births
Some birth characteristics have the potential to profoundly impact later life. Three of these factors are premature birth (gestational age less than 37 weeks), low birthweight (less than 2,500 grams) and high birthweight (4,000 grams or more).
- The regions with the highest prevalence of pre-term birth were North West HHS (10.4%), Central West HHS (9.3%) and Torres and Cape HHS (9.3%).
- The regions with the highest prevalence of low birthweight births were North West HHS (9.3%), Torres and Cape HHS (8.9%) and Darling Downs HHS (6.1%).
- The regions with the highest prevalence of high birthweight births were South West HHS (12.3%) and West Moreton HHS (11.7%).
Figure 1: Perinatal indicators by region, Queensland
Immunisation of young children protects children from a variety of diseases that can lead to chronic ill-health in later life.
Childhood immunisation rates at one, two and five years in Queensland are high and coverage is greater than 90% in almost every region.
- The regions with the highest 1-year-old immunisation rates were South West HHS (96.0%), Central West HHS (95.9%) and Metro North HHS (95.7%).
- The regions with the highest 2-year-old immunisation rates were Central West HHS (95.2%), Metro North HHS (94.5%) and Wide Bay HHS (94.4%).
- The regions with the highest 5-year-old immunisation rates were Central West HHS (97.5%), Townsville HHS (96.7%) and South West HHS (96.5%).
|Hospital and Health Service||% immunised|
|1 year||2 years||5 years|
|Cairns and Hinterland HHS||93.3||91.4||94.0|
|Central Queensland HHS||95.4||93.0||95.9|
|Central West HHS||95.9||95.2||97.5|
|Darling Downs HHS||93.8||93.6||95.4|
|Gold Coast HHS||91.5||89.6||91.7|
|Metro North HHS||95.7||94.5||95.3|
|Metro South HHS||94.6||93.1||94.6|
|North West HHS||92.7||90.1||93.0|
|South West HHS||96.0||93.6||96.5|
|Sunshine Coast HHS||89.9||89.3||91.2|
|Torres and Cape HHS||91.4||90.9||95.5|
|West Moreton HHS||94.6||93.3||95.0|
|Wide Bay HHS||94.4||94.4||95.5|
|Primary Healthcare Network|
|Central Qld and Sunshine Coast||92.6||91.5||93.6|
|Darling Downs and West Moreton||94.3||93.4||95.1|
Source: The Queensland Health Hospital Performance website
Data and statistics
In 2021, the Queensland Mothers and Babies 2018–2019 report was released by the Queensland Maternal and Perinatal Quality Council. Further information can be found at Queensland Maternal and Perinatal Quality Council | Clinical Excellence Queensland | Queensland Health.
Data for this section were sourced from: