Parity refers to the number of previous pregnancies, whether resulting in a live or still birth. Research suggests that parity may be associated with some adverse conditions and outcomes, for example babies of first-time mothers may be pre-term, of low birthweight or small for gestational age (Koulalli et al. 2020; Prakesh 2010).
Alternatively, having had 5 or more previous pregnancies has been associated with maternal, obstetric and fetal complications, such as gestational diabetes, anaemia, pre-eclampsia placenta previa, placental abruption and being born large for gestational age (Singh et al. 2015).
There are many factors, such as maternal age, that need to be considered regarding the risks associated with parity, and most mothers have uncomplicated pregnancies and healthy babies, regardless of parity.
In 2020, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females who gave birth were more likely to have a higher parity than non-Indigenous females. In 2020, 11% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers had a parity of 3, 5.9% had a parity of 4 and 6.1% had a parity of 5 or more (compared with 4.4%, 1.6% and 1.2%, respectively, for non-Indigenous females).
Between 2010 and 2020, the proportion Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females who were first-time mothers has remained stable (between 32% and 34%) and the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females with a parity of 5 or more has decreased (from 8.5% in 2010 to 6.1% in 2020).
The data visualisation below shows the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous females who gave birth by parity from 2010.
Figure 1: Proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females who gave birth by parity from 2010 to 2020