Health Minister Nicola Roxon has launched Australia's first national surveillance system to help make pregnancy and birth safer.

The Australasian Maternity Outcomes Surveillance System (AMOSS) is based at the Perinatal and Reproductive Epidemiology Research Unit (PRERU) at UNSW. It will collect data on severe obstetric conditions and interventions, including eclampsia, embolisms, morbid obesity, severe haemorrhage and emergency hysterectomy.

Ms Roxon launched the program this week at an official function at Parliament House in Canberra.

Until now, there has been no national system to investigate these conditions and their burden on the community and health sector.

"These illnesses or conditions are rare. Individual maternity units need to be prepared but have little opportunity to develop expertise or an improved understanding of the conditions or their management," said Director of PRERU at UNSW, Associate Professor Elizabeth Sullivan.

"AMOSS will provide evidence-based information to give more insight into risk factors, management and possible means of prevention."

The information would also be used to inform further national research, improve clinical guidelines and education resources and influence policy development, Associate Professor Sullivan said.

The AMOSS objectives are closely aligned to the first recommendation from the Maternity Services Review report Improving Maternity Services in Australia, which urged improved national data collection on maternal morbidity.

Media contact: Steve Offner | 02 9385 8107 |