Perinatal Health Surveillance: A Spatiotemporal Analysis of Administrative Health Records from Queensland, Australia

Parayiwa, C., Behie, A. M., and Lal, A. (2022)


Research into the spatial and temporal distribution of perinatal health across Queensland, Australia, remains limited. This is despite studies within perinatal epidemiology supporting the importance of exploring spatial trends to identify the geographical distribution of vulnerable groups requiring intervention or further research. The purpose of this study was to explore spatial and temporal trends in perinatal health and antenatal service utilisation across Queensland, Australia. Space-time pattern mining and spatial autocorrelation geographic information system methods were used to analyse administrative perinatal records collected between 2008 and 2018. Changes in perinatal health and antenatal service utilisation over space and time were reported. Areas in Remote and Very remote parts of Far North Queensland with increasing birth rates over the study period were also identified as hot spots for high proportions of low birthweight births and smoking during pregnancy. Both remote and regional areas of northern Queensland were hot spots for high proportions of public antenatal care visits, while hot spots for private visits were in Major cities. This small-area exploration of perinatal health highlights the value of administrative records in monitoring location-based perinatal health outcomes and service use. This can be crucial in monitoring perinatal indicators over time, exploring associations between maternal environment and health outcomes, tracking the impact of health interventions, and identifying marginalised groups.