3414.0 - Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources, 2011 (Edition 2)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/03/2011   
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NSW Perinatal Data Collection (PDC)


The NSW Perinatal Data Collection (PDC) as of 1 January 2011, formally the Midwives Data Collection (MDC), is managed by the NSW Department of Health. It is an administrative data collection which records all births in NSW.

Information in the PDC is collected under the Public Health Act 1991, whereby the particulars of births are to be reported to the NSW Department of Health as per Section 14(2)(a) of the Act.

Data are collected for the purpose of monitoring the health of mothers and babies in NSW. The data are used by clinicians, hospitals, area health service planners, Department of Health, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), as well as researchers and consumers. A report is also prepared for 'Families First', a NSW Government initiative which supports families to give their children a good start in life.

The information collected in the PDC is about pregnancy care, services and outcomes. This includes demographic, medical and obstetric information about the mother; and information on the labour, delivery and condition of the infant.

In the 'Families First' report, data from the PDC includes babies' birthweight and gestational age, and characteristics of the mother.

The MDC was developed in 1986, although, data are not available for part of 1986 and 1989. Changes to the MDC form (NSW Midwives Data Collection) have occurred over time. Changes were implemented in 1990, between 1993 and 1994, and again in 1998 and 2006.


The scope of the PDC is all births in NSW public and private hospitals, and home births. This includes women whose usual place of residence is outside NSW, who gave birth in NSW. It encompasses all live births and stillbirths of at least 20 weeks gestation or at least 400 grams birthweight. (Since 2006 all live births have been included, regardless of gestational age.) Births that occurred outside NSW to women usually resident in NSW are not included in the collection.


  • Country of birth
  • Indigenous status of mother. Mothers who identify themselves to be of Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin
  • Estimated gestational age (weeks)
  • Confinement. A pregnancy which results in at least one live birth. With a multiple pregnancy, one confinement will result in more than one birth
  • Birthweight. The newborn infant's first bare weight in grams, usually taken within one hour of birth


Data are coded according to the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 2004 (cat. no. 1216.0). In the NSW 'Families First' report, data are presented for Statistical Local Areas, 'Families First' regions and NSW.


Data are published from the MDC in the following reports:
  • NSW Mothers and Babies (annually from 1996 onwards)
  • NSW Midwives Data Collection (annually from 1990-1995)
  • Australia's Mothers and Babies (AIHW National Perinatal Statistics Unit)

It is important to note that birth data is available from two different sources; the PDC and from state and territory Registrars. As a consequence the statistics obtained vary, e.g. in 2003, the MDC collection reported 86,414 births in NSW while the information from the Registrar reported 86,344 births. For more information, see the ABS Births entry.


Information about the NSW Midwives Data Collection is available on the NSW Department of Health website at www.health.nsw.gov.au.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website can be found at www.aihw.gov.au.