Northern Territory



Kiarna Brown: Co-Lead
Carina Cotaru: Co-Lead

The NT has one of the highest rates of preterm birth in Australia.

  • The preterm birth rate for the Northern Territory’s Non-Indigenous population is comparable to the National average at approximately 8%.

    Devastatingly, the preterm birth rate for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies in the NT is almost DOUBLE at over 14%.

    The biggest discrepancy is in the extremely preterm gestational age.

    Asymptomatic short cervix, spontaneous preterm labour and poorly controlled maternal medical conditions are all major contributing factors.

    Unfortunately maternal smoking rates remain high at approximately 50%.

    The wide discrepancy in social determinants of health is undoubtedly the most important aspect requiring attention.
  • The NT has one of the highest rate of preterm birth in Australia with preterm birth rates in the Indigenous population double that in the non-Indigenous population. 

    As many of these women live in remote locations, a preterm birth has a significant impact on the quality of life not only of the mother and baby but also on their communities as they are separated from their families.

    Improving access to screening and preterm prevention programme through adequate cervical surveillance and prompt availability of treatment is our first goal in reducing the rate of preterm births in the NT.  

    A major gap in our knowledge is about the actual aetiology of preterm in our population. Currently we have limited understanding of why the rates are so high. This would be a focus for the long term.
    Our first initiative to achieve lower rates of preterm birth, is to collaborate with ultrasound services across the top end of NT to ensure all women are screened to identify those at risk of preterm birth.  We would also hope to make changes to improve access to treatment, especially for women in remote locations.

    Smoking rates remain high despite dedicated programs and we need ongoing efforts in this area.

  • The Northern Territory Alliance Co-leads are:

    • Kiarna Brown
    • Carina Cotaru