Pātiki and Waharua Kōpito patterns

Report on maternity web tool

Use our web tool to explore maternity statistics.

About the maternity web tool

The Report on Maternity 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.

Key findings about births in 2021

Number of births

  • 62,433 women gave birth, and 62,046 babies were live-born in 2021, an increase from 2020.
  • The birth rate in 2021 was 61.5 per 1,000 females of reproductive age, an increase from 2020 (57.7 per 1000 females of reproductive age).

Types of care provided

  • Most women giving birth (93.9%) received care from a community-based Lead Maternity Carer in 2021.
  • Nearly three-quarters (73.5%) of women giving birth in 2021 registered with a Lead Maternity Carer in their first trimester of pregnancy; up from just over half (56.0%) in 2012.
  • Most women gave birth at a tertiary (45.5%) or secondary maternity facility (40.9%), 9.4% of women gave birth in a primary facility or birthing unit in 2021. These rates have been stable over the last 10 years. 4.3% of women gave birth at home in 2021, the second highest rate over the last 10 years.

Birthing interventions

  • 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 10 years to 30.9% of all births in 2021, the highest ever recorded. Emergency caesarean section rates have generally increased over the same period, whereas elective caesarean rates have remained roughly the same. There has been a corresponding decrease in spontaneous vaginal birth (57.3% in 2021) and no significant change to rates of instrumental vaginal birth (9.5% in 2021).

Birthweights and gestational age

  • There have been no changes to trends in average birthweight or distribution of gestational age at birth over the last 10 years. In 2021, 7.9% of babies were born preterm (before 37 weeks gestation).
  • Similar to previous years, babies of low birthweight (less than 2500g) were more common among women under 20 years, Indian women, and women residing in areas of high neighbourhood deprivation in 2021.
  • Preterm births were more common among women under 20 years and aged 40 years and over, Māori women, Pacific women, and women residing in areas of high neighbourhood deprivation in 2021.

About the data

Data for this web tool was extracted from publicly funded maternity events recorded in Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora's National Maternity Collection. The National Maternity Collection collates data from three different sources to provide statistical, demographic and clinical information about women giving birth and live-born babies in New Zealand.

Maternity data clinical coding changes

From 1 July 2019, diagnoses codes are assigned using the 11th Edition of ICD-10-AM (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision, Australian Modification) and procedure codes are assigned using the 11th Edition of ACHI (Australian Classification of Health Interventions) (Source: The Independent Hospital Pricing Authority).

Some maternity events (women giving birth in hospital and live babies born in hospital) are impacted by changes in the 11th Edition clinical coding standards, particularly place of birth and type of birth data.

Therefore, this data may show variation due to the change in coding standards rather than a true increase.


In this web tool, maternity data was extracted and recalculated 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, please use this latest version of the web tool as numbers and rates in previous maternity publications and tables may not be comparable.

We have quality checked the collection, extraction, and reporting of the data presented here. However, errors can occur. Contact us through the Data Services team at Health NZ if you have any concerns regarding any of the data or analyses presented here, at data-enquiries@health.govt.nz

Publishing information

Date of publication:

17 August 2023

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.


Further information

Further information about the data can be found in the web tool and in this document.

Report on Maternity: further information (PDF, 366 KB)

Report on Maternity: further information (Word, 312 KB)