Since the introduction of the federal government’s “baby bonus” the annual hospital birth rate in New South Wales has risen by over 11 000. This rise has also had an important and possibly unexpected impact on maternity services and related costs, with the extra births increasing costs by $60 million/year. In 2008, there were over 8700 more vaginal deliveries, over 1000 more preterm births and over 45 000 extra infant hospital days/year. The increase in numbers of deliveries was observed in tertiary, urban and rural public hospitals but, interestingly, no increase was seen in private hospitals.
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