Antenatal care is planned visits with a doctor or midwife during pregnancy. The goal is to assess and improve the health of the mother and baby during the course of the pregnancy and to improve future health outcomes.
Regular antenatal care in the first trimester (before 14 weeks gestational age) is associated with better maternal health in pregnancy, fewer interventions in late pregnancy and positive child health outcomes (AIHW 2020, Department of Health 2018).
In 2020, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who gave birth (crude):
- 71% (10,027) attended their first antenatal care visit in the first trimester.
- 29% (4,031) attended their first visit after the first trimester.
- 0.9% (129) received no antenatal care during their pregnancy (Figure MB 2a).
After accounting for differences between women of different ages (age-standardised):
- Indigenous women accessed care later in pregnancy than non-Indigenous women.
- The proportion of Indigenous women who accessed 5 or more antenatal visits during pregnancy was slightly lower when compared to non-Indigenous women (88% and 95%, respectively) (Figure MB 2b).
Between 2012 and 2020, the proportion of Indigenous women accessing antenatal care in the first trimester increased from 50% to 71% (Figure MB 3a). The proportion attending 5 or more visits increased from 85% to 89%—these proportions exclude Victoria (Figure MB 3b).