Birth Outcomes

The Gudaga Study extracted antenatal and obstetric data from electronic medical records on the birth and birth outcomes for 178 Aboriginal and 1,869 non-Aborignal infants and their mothers. We used these data to study birth outcomes for mothers and their infants.

Mothers of Aboriginal infants were younger than mothers of non-Aboriginal infants, and were more likely to be:

  • a single mother;
  • less educated;
  • unemployed prior to pregnancy; and
  • living in a disadvantaged suburb.

Mothers of Aboriginal infants (77%) were significantly more likely to have a vaginal delivery than mothers of non-Aboriginal infants (63%). They were also less likely than mothers of non-Aboriginal infants to receive an intervention during delivery.

At delivery, Aboriginal infants (3.3kg) weighed an average of 138g less than non-Aboriginal infants (3.4 kg). A number of factors were associated with a lower birth weight including:

  • gestational age;
  • a single mother;
  • less educated;
  • prior unemployment;
  • smoking; and
  • living in a disadvantaged suburb.

Using a causal pathway analysis we were able to show that many of these factors are associated and have a cumulative negative effect on maternal and infant birth outcomes.