New BORN report shows improvements in exclusive breastfeeding rates and a reduction in women who smoked during pregnancy.

New BORN report shows improvements in exclusive breastfeeding rates and a reduction in women who smoked during pregnancy. Work still needed to reduce timing of repeat cesarean sections for low risk women and inductions in overdue women. BORN Ontario releases a snapshot into pregnancy, birth, and early childhood health.

Ottawa—Our lifelong health is influenced by what happens in the first few days, weeks, and months of our lives. This period is as important as what we do throughout our lifetime. The data released today by BORN Ontario (Better Outcomes Registry & Network) will inform the work of health care providers, decision-makers, and researchers who are focused on ensuring newborns have the best possible start and opportunity for a healthy future.

Since 2009, BORN Ontario has been working with health care providers across the province to collect, interpret, share, and protect data about each birth in Ontario. Together, we are investing in quality data to change lives across the province and the country. BORN operates out of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.  

The current report displays data for births in Ontario that occurred during the 2011–2012 fiscal year and demonstrates important changes in some of BORN Ontario’s target areas.

 Report Highlights

  • Maternal age: 56.4% of women who gave birth were 30 years of age or older.
  • The largest proportion of births was to women between the ages of 30 and 34 (34.3%). During the same period, 3.0% of births were to women 19 years of age and under, while 22.0% were to women 35 years of age and over.
    • Prenatal screening: the proportion of pregnant women who had prenatal screening rose to 68.4% up from 68.2% in 2010-2011 and 66.9% in 2009-2010.
    • First time mothers: 43.3% of women who gave birth were first time mothers.
    • Smoking: the percentage of women who reported smoking during pregnancy at 20 weeks’ gestation or later declined, standing at 9.0% in 2011–2012 down from 9.7% in 2010–2011 and 10.2% in 2009–2010.
    • Regional anesthesia: 63.4% of women used some form of regional anesthesia for pain management during labour.
    • Cesarean sections: C-section rates were stable over the five year period from 2007–2008 to 2011–2012 at approximately 28.0%. Specifically related to elective repeat C-sections performed prior to 39 weeks’ gestation among low-risk women, BORN has developed an audit and feedback tool (the Maternal Newborn Dashboard) to help hospital’s monitor their performance and reduce rates.  The quarterly rates have been reduced from 54.6%, prior to launch of the dashboard, to 44.0% for May 1 to July 31, 2013, but are still much higher than the target benchmark value of 11.0% or less.
    • Induction rates: another indicator from the BORN Maternal Newborn Dashboard focuses on reducing inductions performed too early when the woman wasn’t actually overdue. This proportion was reduced from 24.7% prior to launch of the dashboard to 20.1%, but is still higher than the benchmark.
    • Breastfeeding: exclusive breastfeeding is an important determinant of neonatal and infant health and is associated with reducing childhood obesity. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding at discharge among term live births in Ontario increased to 63.2% in 2011-2012, up from 61.6% in 2009-2010 and 59.8% in 2007-2008.

To access the full program report as well as LHIN data slides, visit


 Positive Impact of BORN Ontario data

During the 2011–2012 year, BORN Ontario data was used to support important successes. BORN data was used by the Markham Stouffville Hospital as part of their efforts to monitor and reduce their C-section rates. In another hospital, the data was also key in a pilot program to improve care and reduce costs by keeping more mothers and newborns together after birth rather than separating the newborn in a neonatal intensive care unit.  The data was also used to monitor and reduce the number of unsatisfactory newborn screens for rare genetic diseases from 16% to 7% in one hospital.

 “BORN Ontario is quickly finding its way to the heart of the province’s health care ecosystem by helping to improve health outcomes and reducing costs when possible,” said BORN Ontario director Mari Teitelbaum. “Our success can only be attributed to the commitment of our partners and our collective investments in quality data.”

 BORN Ontario works with a range of health providers and decision makers including physicians, midwifery groups, nurses, fertility clinics, health agencies, Ontario Local Health Integration Networks, prenatal and newborn screening labs, researchers, and others. As a data registry privy to sensitive information, data is collected and released in adherence to strict privacy and confidentiality policies to ensure quality data can be collected without compromising the privacy of individuals or organizations.


Media contact:

Derek Antoine