Report on Maternity 2015

Published online: 
09 August 2017
Publication cover


This report describes:

  • 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.

Download the report and its accompanying data tables:

Key findings about births in 2015

  • 58,957 women gave birth and 59,308 babies were live-born.
  • The birth rate in 2015 was 63.6 per 1,000 females of reproductive age; the lowest since 2006.
  • Birth rates for young women have decreased over the last decade while birth rates for older women have increased.
  • Women giving birth were predominantly European, aged 25–34 years, residing in more deprived neighbourhoods, and had given birth at least once before.
  • Most women received primary maternity care from a midwife Lead Maternity Carer.
  • Two of every three women registered with a Lead Maternity Carer did so within their first trimester of pregnancy; an increase from 2008 when half registered within the first trimester.
  • Most women gave birth at a secondary or tertiary maternity facility.
  • Home births were more common among Māori and European women.
  • Elective caesarean section rates have increased.
  • One in every three women giving birth had a normal birth.
  • More babies were male than female.
  • Compared to previous years, there was little change in average birthweight.
  • Median gestation at birth was 39 weeks.
  • Most babies were exclusively or fully breastfed.

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    09 August 2017
  • ISBN:
  • HP number:
  • Citation:
    Ministry of Health. 2017. Report on Maternity 2015. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
  • Copyright status:

    Owned by the Ministry of Health and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.

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