Pregnancy news, 26/10/2018
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.
A recent study has looked at whether taking paracetamol while pregnant can affect childhood behaviour. While the study shows there may be links, the results were affected by many other factors, and taking paracetamol is still classed as safe.
New research has shown that it is possible for soot (pollution) particles to reach a developing fetus through the placenta.
A new research study suggests that babies born vaginally have different gut bacteria to those born by c-section (caesarean), but pregnant women should not be alarmed.
Tommy’s, The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) have formed an alliance to launch The Tommy’s National Centre for Maternity Improvement, which will be established from 1 September 2019.