Main outcome measures: Australian Standard Geographical Classification remoteness category, birthweight, Apgar score at 5 minutes, stillbirth, gestational age and a constructed measure of perinatal outcomes of babies called “healthy baby” (live birth, singleton, 37–41 completed weeks’ gestation, 2500–4499 g birthweight, and an Apgar score at 5 minutes ≥ 7).
Results: The proportion of healthy babies in remote, regional and city areas was 74.9%, 77.7% and 77.6%, respectively. After adjusting for age, parity, smoking and diabetes or hypertension, babies born to mothers in remote areas were less likely to satisfy the study criteria of being a healthy baby (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.87; 95% CI, 0.81–0.93) compared with those born in cities. Babies born to mothers living in remote areas had higher odds of being of low birthweight (AOR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.01–1.19) and being born with an Apgar score < 7 at 5 minutes (AOR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.39–1.92).
Conclusions: Only three in four babies born to Indigenous mothers fell into the “healthy baby” category, and those born in more remote areas were particularly disadvantaged. These findings demonstrate the continuing need for urgent and concerted action to address the persistent perinatal inequity in the Indigenous population.
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