Reproductive experiences and outcomes among a representative sample of women: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships

Juliet Richters, Allison Carter, Theresa Caruana, Deborah Bateson, Richard de Visser, Chris Rissel, Anna Yeung, Rebecca Guy, Kevin McGeechan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To enumerate pregnancy outcomes for a representative sample of women in Australia surveyed in 2012–2013 (primary aim) and compare these with women surveyed in 2001–2002 (secondary aim). Methods: Computer-assisted telephone interviews with over 10,000 women aged 16–69 years (participation rate 68.4%). Results are weighted for chance of selection and to reflect the population as a whole. Results: Of women with experience of vaginal intercourse, 75.1% had ever been pregnant, 18.4% reported difficulties getting pregnant and 10.0% had had fertility treatment. Of those who had been pregnant, 91.3% had ever had a live birth, 34.3% a miscarriage, 22.8% an abortion and 2.3% a stillbirth; 0.9% had relinquished a child for adoption. The proportion first pregnant in their 30s was 11% among women aged 60–69 and 26% among those aged 40–49. Fewer older women reported difficulties getting pregnant. Of the 21,882 pregnancies reported, 70% led to live births and 10% were terminated. Compared with our 2001–2002 survey, fewer women reported ever having been pregnant. Giving up newborns for adoption has become very rare. Conclusions: Falling fertility since the 1960s reflects greater access to contraception and abortion and higher opportunity costs of childbearing. Implications for public health: These findings on women's lifetime reproductive experiences complement routine annual data collections.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Early online date30 Sep 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Sep 2021


  • abortion
  • adoption
  • Australia
  • fertility
  • induced
  • infertility
  • live birth
  • national survey
  • pregnancy
  • spontaneous


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