Expectant first time mothers in Tasmania are more likely to have a caesarean birth than their counterparts in New South Wales, with our island state having the second highest rate of caesarean in Australia.
National Core Maternity Indicators, released by the Australian Institute Of Health and Welfare, show that the rates of unassisted vaginal births have decreased overall, while the caesarean rates have increased 5 per cent over the past decade.
Across Australia the use of episiotomy for first time mothers is also on the rise.
The indicators show that mothers in disadvantaged areas are more likely to have unassisted vaginal births, while caesareans are more likely to occur in private hospitals than in public, and are the most common method of birth in private hospitals.
The report noted that there has been an increasing trend in Australia and internationally to intervene in the birth process, through C-sections and instrumental vaginal births.
"The appropriateness of such changes to clinical practice are debated," it said.
"Women require clear information regarding the benefits of the intervention and the short and long term risks so that the woman is able to make an informed decision."
The report showed that mothers in Tasmania are also more likely to have access to antenatal care in the first trimester than other Australian mothers.
However, rates of smoking during pregnancy in Tasmania are still above the national average.
Women require clear information regarding the benefits of the intervention and the short and long term risks so that the woman is able to make an informed decision.Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
The rate of caesareans in Tasmania, specifically Devonport and Launceston were similar.
So too were the rates of smoking by pregnant mothers in the two regions, with 18 per cent of all pregnant mothers smoking in Devonport and Burnie, and 17 per cent in the North-East region.
The national average for smoking in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy is 9.2 per cent of all mothers, or one in ten.
Induced labour for first time mothers nationally is high, with almost one in two births being induced, but this is more common in public hospitals than in private.
The report noted the "frequency" of episiotomy for first time mothers, with one in five women who had unassisted vaginal births having an episiotomy, and three in four of those having instrumental vaginal births.
"Evidence suggests that selective use of episiotomy is better practice than routine use of episiotomy," it said.