ANRQ: The Antenatal Risk Questionnaire (ANRQ) is a 12-item questionnaire used to address key domains of psychosocial health that have been shown to be associated with increased risk of perinatal mental health morbidity (e.g., depressive or anxiety disorder) and less optimal mother-infant attachment. The ANRQ can be self-completed or administered by the clinician and can be used during pregnancy or postnatally. 

antenatal: The period covering conception up to the time of birth. Synonymous with prenatal. 

antenatal care: A planned visit between a pregnant woman and a midwife or doctor to assess and improve the wellbeing of the mother and baby throughout pregnancy. It does not include visits where the sole purpose is to confirm the pregnancy. Also known as an antenatal visit.

anxiety disorders: A group of mental disorders marked by excessive feelings of apprehension, worry, nervousness and stress. Includes generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and various phobias.

birth trauma/traumatic birth: Includes births, whether pre-term or full term, which are physically traumatic (for example, instrumental or assisted deliveries or emergency caesarean sections, severe perineal tears, postpartum haemorrhage) and births that are experienced as traumatic, even when the delivery is obstetrically straightforward (NICE 2020), and thus may include psychological birth trauma. The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health defines traumatic birth experiences as emergency caesarean, labour lasting more than 36 hours, emotional distress during labour, or stillbirth (Loxton et al. 2021). 

data linkage/linked data/data integration: Bringing together (linking) information from two or more data sources believed to relate to the same entity, such as the same individual or the same institution. The resulting data set is called linked data. In this report, data linkage is used to bring together information from datasets that indicates a population of interest (such as people with dementia) with other datasets that include information on other characteristics or service usage.

de-identified: A process that involves the removal or alteration of personal identifiers, followed by the application of additional techniques or controls to remove, obscure, aggregate, alter and/or protect data so that they are no longer about an identifiable (or reasonably identifiable) individual.

depression: A mood disorder with prolonged feelings of being sad, hopeless, low and inadequate, with a loss of interest or pleasure in activities and often with suicidal thoughts or self-blame.

depressive disorders: A group of mood disorders with prolonged feelings of being sad, hopeless, low and inadequate, with a loss of interest or pleasure in activities and often with suicidal thoughts or self-blame.

EPDS: The EPDS is a 10-item questionnaire asking women how often they have felt certain ways in the past 7 days. For example, for the item ‘I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things,’ women are asked to choose between responses; ‘As much as I always could,’ ‘Not quite so much now,’ ‘Definitely not so much now,’ and ‘Not at all.’ Responses to EPDS items are scored between zero and 3, and a total score of 13 is regarded as a flag for possible depressive symptoms requiring follow up.

family violence (or family and domestic violence): Violence between family members as well as current or former intimate partners. Can include acts of violence between a parent and a child. Family violence is the preferred term used to identify experiences of violence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as it encompasses the broad range of extended family and kinship relationships in which violence may occur.

fetal death (stillbirth): Death, before the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother, of a product of conception of 20 or more completed weeks of gestation or of 400 grams or more birthweight. Death is indicated by the fact that, after such separation, the fetus does not breathe or show any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord or definite movement of voluntary muscles.

First Nations: Person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

general practice: general practice includes fully qualified general practitioners. Physicians in training are normally excluded.

general practitioner (GP): A medical practitioner who provides primary comprehensive and continuing care to patients and their families in the community.

mental health: A state of wellbeing in which the person realises their own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and can contribute to the community. Mental health is the capacity of individuals and groups to interact with one another and their environment in ways that promote subjective wellbeing, optimal development and the use of cognitive, affective and relational abilities. Different cultural groups may prefer to use other terms to describe mental health, such as ‘social and emotional wellbeing’ (Everymind 2020).

mental health condition/mental illness (or mental health disorder/mental disorder): A clinically diagnosable disorder that significantly interferes with an individual’s cognitive, emotional or social abilities. The term covers a spectrum of disorders that vary in severity and duration, including anxiety disorders, affective disorders (such as depression), psychotic disorders and substance use disorders. The terms mental illness and mental disorder are often used interchangeably.

midwife: A person who is trained to help women in childbirth.

mood (affective) disorders: A set of psychiatric disorders, also called mood disorders. The main types of affective disorders are depression and bipolar disorder. Symptoms vary by individual and can range from mild to severe.

non-Indigenous: People who have indicated that they are not of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.

parity: Number of previous pregnancies resulting in live births or stillbirths, excluding the current pregnancy.

perinatal: Pertaining to or occurring in the period covering pregnancy and the first year of birth. Note - this differs from other AIHW reports where perinatal is used to mean ‘pertaining to or occurring in the period shortly before or after birth (usually up to 28 days after)’.

plurality: Number of births resulting from a pregnancy.

postnatal/postpartum: Pertaining to or occurring in the period immediately after birth and the first year after birth. The terms postnatal and postpartum are often used interchangeably however explicitly, postpartum refers to the woman and postnatal refers to the baby. This differs from other AIHW reports where these terms are used to mean ‘pertaining to or occurring in the period immediately after birth lasting 6 weeks.’

postpartum psychosis: Acute cute psychotic episode arising in the early postnatal period.

post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): The development of a set of reactions in people who have experienced a traumatic event that might have threatened their life or safety, or others around them. Examples of traumatic events can include war or torture, serious accidents, physical or sexual assault, or disasters. A person who has PTSD can experience feelings of helplessness, horror or intense fear. Childbirth-related PTSD relates to a person’s response to their birthing experience.

Pre-term birth: Birth before 37 completed weeks of gestation.

Primary health care: These are services delivered in many community settings, such as general practices, community health centres, Aboriginal health services and allied health practices (for example, physiotherapy, dietetic and chiropractic practices) and come under numerous funding arrangements. Expenditure on primary health care includes recurrent expenditure on health goods and services, such as on medical services, dental services, other health practitioner services, pharmaceuticals and community and public health services.

Primary Health Network (PHN): An administrative not-for-profit organisation set up under the Australian Government Primary Health Networks Program to commission primary care health services: 

  • to meet the identified and prioritised needs of people in their administrative health region 
  • to provide practice support to general practitioners 
  • to integrate health services, including coordinating with local hospitals, to improve operational efficiency and provide a better experience for patients.

Private hospital: A privately owned and operated institution, catering for patients who are treated by a doctor of their own choice. Patients are charged fees for accommodation and other services provided by the hospital and by relevant medical and allied health practitioners. The term includes acute care and psychiatric hospitals as well as private freestanding day hospital facilities.

Private patient: A person admitted to a private hospital, or a person admitted to a public hospital who decides to choose the doctor(s) who will treat them or to have private ward accommodation – this means they will be charged for medical services, food and accommodation.

protective factors: These are actions a person can take to reduce the negative impact of issues like mental health conditions and delayed developmental outcomes in children. They may strengthen a person’s ability to cope with difficult circumstances and may include actions before and after childbirth such as physical activity, healthy nutrition, social support, and supporting mother-infant interaction.

psychological birth trauma: May result from a traumatic birth and be experienced by both birthing and non-birthing parents following a birth. 

psychosocial: Involving both psychological and social factors that impact on health and wellbeing.

psychotic disorders: ‘A diverse group of illnesses that have their origins in abnormal brain function and are characterised by fundamental distortions of thinking, perception and emotional response.’ (Slade et al. 2009).

public hospital: A hospital controlled by a state or territory health authority. In Australia, public hospitals offer free diagnostic services, treatment, care and accommodation to all eligible patients.

public patient: Patients who are admitted to hospital at no charge and are mostly funded through public sector health or hospital service budgets.

risk factors: Any factor that represents a greater risk of a health disorder or other unwanted condition or event. Some risk factors are regarded as causes of disease; others are not necessarily so. Along with their opposites (protective factors), risk factors are known as determinants.

stillbirth: See fetal death (stillbirth)

suicide, suicidality, and intentional self-harm: Suicide - An action taken to deliberately end one’s own life; Suicidality – a term that encompasses suicide plans, attempts and ideation; Intentional self-harm is deliberately causing physical harm to oneself but not necessarily with the intention of dying.

For additional terms, refer to the Glossary in Mothers & babies.