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Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

The Report on Maternity web tool provides health statistics about women giving birth, their pregnancy and childbirth experience and the characteristics of live-born babies in New Zealand. The web tool enables you to explore trends over time using interactive graphs and tables. Filtered results, data dictionaries and the full data sets can be downloaded from within the web tool.

The web tool presents:

  • the demographic profile of women giving birth (eg, age, ethnicity, deprivation) and selected antenatal factors (eg, BMI, smoking)
  • events relating to labour and birth (eg, type of birth, interventions, place of birth)
  • the demographic profile of live-born babies, their birthweight and gestation and care provided after birth.

Please use the link below to access the web tool:

Additional information is provided to add context to the web tool. This document contains information about the data sources and analytical methods used to produce summary data, and a glossary of terms commonly used in the web tool.

Key findings about births in 2018

  • 58,503 women gave birth and 58,776 babies were live-born, a slight decrease from 2017.
  • The birth rate in 2018 was 60.4 per 1,000 females of reproductive age; also a slight decrease from 2017 (61.7 per 1000 females of reproductive age) and the lowest birth rate in the last 10 years.
  • Most women giving birth (92.9%) received care from a community-based Lead Maternity Carer
  • Two-thirds (67.5%) of women giving birth registered with a Lead Maternity Carer in their first trimester of pregnancy; up from less than half (47.1%) in 2009.
  • Most women gave birth at a secondary (40.5%) or tertiary maternity facility (45.5%), 10.5% of women gave birth in a primary facility or birthing unit, 3.6% of women had home births. These rates have been stable over the last 10 years.
  • Induction of labour, epidural analgesia, and episiotomy rates have continued an upward trend over the last 10 years. Rates of augmentation of established labour has continued a downward trend over this same period.
  • Caesarean section rates have increased over the last ten years to 28.4% of all births in 2018, the highest ever recorded. Both emergency and elective Caesarean section rates have increased over the same period. There has been a corresponding decrease in spontaneous vaginal birth (62.2%) and no change to rates of assisted vaginal birth (9.5%).
  • There have been no changes to average birthweight or distribution of gestational age at birth in 2018 compared to 2017. In 2018, 7.5% of babies were born preterm (before 37 weeks gestation).
  • As in previous years, babies of small birthweight were more common among women under 20 years and aged 40 years and over, Indian women and women residing in areas of high neighbourhood deprivation.
  • Preterm births were more common among women aged 40 years and over, Maori women and women residing in areas of high neighbourhood deprivation.


In this web tool, maternity data was extracted and recalculated for the years 2007–2018 to reflect ongoing updates to data in the National Maternity Collection and the revision of population estimates and projections following each census. For this reason, there may be small changes to some numbers and rates from those presented in previous publications and tables.

We have quality checked the collection, extraction, and reporting of the data presented here. However, errors can occur. Contact the Ministry of Health if you have any concerns regarding any of the data or analyses presented here, at [email protected].