0.4 Low birthweight
Babies who are born with low birth weight are at greater risk of poor health and disability than other babies.
A baby may be small through being born early (pre-term) or may be small for their gestational age. Factors that may contribute to low birth weight include:
- maternal experiences of illness, trauma or injury during pregnancy
- inadequate prenatal care
- smoking, alcohol, and drug use during pregnancy
- poor maternal nutrition, physical and mental health
Low birth weight is defined as <2,500 grams.
Trend data: For all indicator displays, the yearly trend is limited to indicators with 3 or more years (including the current year) of comparable time series data. To see the trend click on “Yearly Trend” button on the display. Where 3 or more years of comparable data including the most recent year is not available, a “No time series data” message is shown on the display.
The first figure is a horizontal bar graph showing the proportion of live born infants, by mother’s Indigenous status and birth weight category (high, normal and low). Data can be presented for select years, 2010 to 2019.
The second figure is a line graph showing the proportion of live born infants from 2010 to 2019, by mother’s Indigenous status and birth weight category (high, normal or low).
Indicator technical specifications
The information below provides technical specifications for the summary indicator data presented in the quick reference guide.
|Numerator||Number of low birthweight (<2,500g) live born infants in the reference period||AIHW National Perinatal Data Collection|
|Denominator||Number of births (live born) registered in the reference period||AIHW National Perinatal Data Collection|
The definition of low birthweight as weighing less than 2,500 grams at birth is the Australian standard and the World Health Organization standard.
Babies with low birthweight may be small due to being born early (pre-term), or may be small for their gestational age (including intrauterine growth restriction).
Only live births are included. As such, the indicator excludes stillbirths, miscarriages and terminations.
Data on Indigenous births relate to babies born to Indigenous mothers only, and exclude babies born to non-Indigenous mothers and Indigenous fathers. Therefore, the information is not based on the total count of Indigenous babies. Data also excludes births to mothers for whom Indigenous status was not stated.