Please select category from the dropdown list below.
In 2009, there were 2,416 births registered in WA (1,236 males and 1,180 females) with one or both parents identified as Indigenous (7.8% of all births registered) . (Implied coverage of Indigenous births in WA for 2002-2006 is estimated at 95% on 2001 Census-based projections). Both parents were identified as Indigenous in 46% of the 2,416 births, with only the mother in 33% (including births where paternity was not acknowledged – 14%), and only the father in 21% .
In 2009, Indigenous women in WA tended to have more babies and to have them at younger ages than did non-Indigenous women . The median age of Indigenous mothers was 24.5 years compared with 30.6 years for all mothers. In 2009, the highest age-specific fertility rates were for the 20-24 years age group for Indigenous women and in the 30-34 years age group for all women (Table 2). The fertility rate of Western Australian teenage Indigenous women (103 babies per 1,000 women) was more than four times that for all teenage women in WA (20 babies per 1,000 women).
|Age group||Western Australia||Australia|
|Indigenous||All mothers||Indigenous||All mothers|
Source: Derived from ABS, .
In 2009, the total fertility rate for Indigenous women living in WA was 3.06 births per 1,000 compared with 1.96 per 1,000 for all Western Australian women . (The total fertility rate for Indigenous women in Australia was 2.58 births per 1,000 compared with 1.90 births per 1,000 for all Australian women.)
In 2008, Indigenous mothers in WA were more likely than non-Indigenous mothers to have a non-instrument vaginal (including breech) birth (70% compared with 52%) and less likely to have assisted instrumental vaginal deliveries (forceps or vacuum extraction) (6% compared with 14%) . Indigenous mothers in WA also had a lower rate of caesarean section (24% compared with 34%).
In 2008, the average weight of babies born to Indigenous mothers living in WA was 3,113 grams, which is 243 grams lighter than the average for babies born to all Western Australian mothers, 3,357 grams . Babies born to Indigenous women in WA in 2008 were more than twice as likely to be of low birthweight (LBW) than were those born to all women in WA (14.8% compared with 6.2%). (LBW, defined as a birthweight of less than 2,500 grams, increases the risk of illness and death in infancy and of other health problems).
Risk factors for LBW include socioeconomic disadvantage, the size and age of the mother, the number of babies previously born, the mother’s nutritional status, illness during pregnancy, the duration of the pregnancy, and mother’s alcohol consumption and use of tobacco and other drugs during pregnancy . According to the WAACHS, infants born to mothers who used tobacco during pregnancy had a significantly lower average birth weight (3,110 grams) than did infants born to mothers who had not used tobacco during pregnancy (3,310 grams) . Lowest average birthweights were for infants whose mothers used marijuana with tobacco (3,000 grams) or with both tobacco and alcohol (2,940 grams).