New report on maternity finds drop in teenage pregnancies


New report on maternity finds drop in teenage pregnancies

Media release from the Ministry of Health

The latest Report on Maternity has been released, showing the rate of teenage pregnancies has halved in the past decade.

Every year the data, produced by the Ministry of Health, provides health statistics about women giving birth around the country.

It shows that in 2017, 59,661 women gave birth – the lowest rate since 2008.

“While the number of women giving birth has reduced by just under 5,000 pregnancies since 2008, there are lots of really encouraging signs we can take from this new data,” says the Ministry's Clare Perry, Group Manager, Health System and Improvement.

“The new report shows most women are aged between 25 and 34 when they give birth. The number of teenage pregnancies has halved between 2008 and 2017.”

“In 2017, 2309 teenage women aged between 15 and 19 gave birth. The rate of teenage pregnancies has been steadily declining in the past decade.”

“It’s also incredibly encouraging to see fewer women are smoking during the initial stage of pregnancy and immediately after birth. In 2017, there were two thousand fewer women smoking when they first registered with a primary maternity care provider than there were in 2008,” says Clare Perry.

“According to the report, there was also a drop in the number of women smoking a fortnight after birth.”

In 2017, 1855 fewer women were recorded as smoking two weeks after giving birth than in 2008.

“It’s a positive sign that the smoke free message is having a real impact on New Zealanders – especially with expectant and new mothers.”

“Unfortunately more women identified as overweight and obese in 2017 – 31,000 women identified as overweight and obese. From 2008 to 2017, the proportion of women who had a healthy weight at first registration decreased significantly, while the proportion of women who were overweight and obese increased significantly.”

“We also know from this report that the large majority of mothers giving birth in 2017 (92%) registered with a Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) and that’s why ensuring easy and ready access to LMCs for all New Zealanders is so important."

“We know how important it is to feel safe, confident and supported during pregnancy. I’m committed to ensuring women, babies and whânau continue to receive high quality maternity care from midwives, doctors, district health boards (DHBs) and other health and social service providers,” says Clare Perry.

For more on the Report on Maternity, visit



Typical obfuscation and a touch of confabulation by MoH management.  Firstly, it is not maternity care that has reduced teenage pregnancies and smoking stats at the start of pregnancy, it is far more likely to reflect better education, better access to reliable contraception and pre-conception messages from General Practice as maternity care is...well...actually provided after these have occurred.

Then we have the assumption that the statement "In 2017, 1,855 fewer women were recorded as smoking two weeks after giving birth than in 2008" indicates women are getting the smoke free message (from LMCs), conveniently forgetting that this drop could be the result of the 5,000 fewer deliveries (including the 50% reduction in teenage pregnancies, a group with higher rates of smoking than older women planning a family). Surely this should have at least been presented as a percentage, not an absolute figure or did that not look so good?

Why the fact that 92% of women chose to register with a LMC makes it an access issue isn't clear, but then Maternity Reports are not known for any attempt to investigate causation, that might require some statistical knowledge. Was it that 8% of women:

[a] couldn't access a LMC or there was no LMC available in the area?  [which would be an access issue]  or

[b] chose to use a public hospital (and/or no care)? [a quality not an access issue] 

Finally, we have the ongoing false implication that GPs are still allowed to be and continue to be part of the maternity care process (there may be 1 or 2 left as LMCs), and so are still somehow to blame when anything goes wrong. However midwives usually refer problems to DHB obstetricians. Private obstetricians can be LMCs, so the correct list would be "LMCs and DHBs and other providers".