Childbirth trends by postcode

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recently published data about birth in Australia.  The report found that caesarean section was now one of the most common interventions in pregnancy. Combined with the most recent (2010) report of birthing in NSW, we know that the rate of natural birth in NSW decreased from 60% in 2006 to 58% per cent in 2010, while the caesarean rate rose from 29% to 31%.

In NSW, mothers receiving private obstetric care were more likely to have operative births (forceps, vacuum or caesarean) than those in the public system or those being care for by private midwives.

In particular, Kareena Hospital in Sydney's South topped the State's private hospitals for the highest number of epidurals (83%), while caesarean rates were highest in several private hospitals: North Shore Private, the SAN, Hurstville, St George Private and Norwest Private all had caesarean rates between 46% and 47%.
The average caesarean rate in a private hospital in NSW was 41%, while the average NSW-wide was 30%.  The average with private midwives is consistently under 10%, in line with the World Health Organisation's recommendations.

Fairfield Hospital had the lowest rate of epidurals of all hospitals in the State, with 15% women having an epidural for labour.  Roughly 5% private midwifery clients opt for an epidural.

These reports are significant in that they help to determine maternity service resource allocation.

Learn more about private midwifery care and antenatal shared care