What do the latest statistics from NHS Digital tell us about births in 2017/18?
The latest summary NHS maternity statistics report looks at the data relating to births in 2017-18, and what has changed in the last 10 years. Here's what they found:
1. Births in 2017-18
In this section they looked at the mum’s age, type of birth, how labour started, and whether pain medication was used before or during the birth.
Total number of births
- 626,203 babies were born during 2017-18.
- This is the lowest number of births in the last 10 years.
How old was mum?
- The number of women having babies under the age of 20 has more than halved in the last 10 years.
- The number of women giving birth aged 30-39 has increased by 7%.
How were babies born in 2017-18?
- 16% of babies were born by c-section.
- 32% of labours were induced.
- 52% of women went into labour spontaneously.
Anaesthetic or analgesic was given for pain relief in 61% of births.
2. What happened after babies were born?
In this section, NHS Digital looked at birthweights, Apgar scores and the skin-to-skin and breastfeeding rates in 2017-18.
- 81% of babies born at full-term had skin-to-skin contact within the first hour after birth.
74% of babies had breast milk as their first feed.
When did mum and baby go home?
- Most mums and babies were able to go home the day after birth.
- This was less common for women who had a c-section, who were more likely to go home 2 days after their baby was born.
3. During pregnancy
The report also looked at the demographics of mothers at their booking appointment, including BMI and whether they were current smokers.
- More than 50% of women had an unhealthy BMI, with most in the overweight or obese category.
- Women under the age of 20 were more likely to be underweight than they were obese, and just over 50% were at a healthy BMI.
- 31% of women under the age of 20 said they were currently smoking at the time of their booking appointment.
- This became less common the older the mother was, with only 6% of women aged 40 or over smoking at time of booking.