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Australia: Inductions and preterm births fell during early pandemic years

BMJ 2024; 385 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.q1112 (Published 16 May 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;385:q1112
  1. Bianca Nogrady
  1. Sydney

Australia recorded a notable drop in the number of labour inductions, preterm births, babies with low birth weights, and babies needing neonatal intensive care in the first two years of the pandemic.

A report published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare1—an independent government agency—analysed national hospital data from 2020 and 2021, and estimated there were around 15 000 fewer inductions of labour over those two years than was expected based on trends from the previous five years.

Australia’s rate of labour inductions had been increasing by around 1.5% a year to 34.7% of births in 2019. That trend arrested slightly in 2020 at 35.5%, and declined to 34.2% in 2021. At the same time, the rate of preterm births dropped …

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