A new report on the prevalence of congenital anomalies in Victoria has revealed notifications of congenital anomalies are likely to be under-reported by maternal and child health practitioners. 

Produced by the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity (CCOPMM), the Congenital Anomalies in Victoria 2015–2016 report found one in 22 pregnancies resulted in a congenital anomaly. Reminder to report birth defects

While a slight increase on previous years, reporting by maternal and child health services fell.

Download the report

The report also found:

  • Hypospadias (abnormality of the urethral opening in males) was the most common congenital anomaly (5.3 per 1,000 pregnancies), followed by trisomy 21 (3.0 per 1,000 pregnancies) and obstructive defects of the renal pelvis (2.6 per 1,000 pregnancies).
  • chromosomal anomalies accounted for 35.8 per cent of reported anomalies. The increase of chromosomal anomalies may be attributed to improved screening and testing of chromosomal anomalies. 
  • the rate of congenital anomalies was similar for Aboriginal babies and non-Aboriginal babies
  • increasing maternal age, obesity, pre-gestational diabetes (diabetes before pregnancy) and mother born in North Africa and Middle Eastern countries are significant risk factors for major congenital anomalies in Victoria.

Ranging from minor anomalies such as naevi and haemangiomas (birthmarks), to major conditions such as Down syndrome and spina bifida – all congenital anomalies in children from before birth to six years of age should be reported to the Victorian Congenital Anomalies Register, managed by the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity (CCOPMM). 

These notifications help the health sector better understand risk factors and mitigation strategies, and data is used to inform prevention programs and efforts across the state. 

To notify congenital anomaly, go to CCOPMM to enter the child’s birth date, postcode, sex and anomaly.