Skip Navigation

NHS Maternity Statistics, England 2016-17


Publication date: 09:30 November 09, 2017


This is a report on deliveries in English NHS hospitals. This annual publication covers the financial year ending March 2017. For the first time the publication includes data from both the Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) data warehouse and the Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS).

HES contains records of all admissions, appointments and attendances for patients admitted to NHS hospitals in England. The HES data used in this publication are called 'delivery episodes'.  The MSDS collects records of each stage of the maternity service care pathway in NHS-funded maternity services, and includes information not recorded in HES. The MSDS is a maturing, national-level dataset which has been impacted in terms of non-response from providers as they work towards establishing their reporting flows. In 2016-17 MSDS reported 55.9 per cent of the number of deliveries reported in HES based on data submitted by 111 maternity providers. Therefore, caution should be taken when interpreting the data at geographies above reporting organisation level and figures derived from the MSDS data are presented in terms of 'all providers who submitted data to the MSDS' instead of England total figures for 2016-17

This publication shows the number of HES delivery episodes during the period, with a number of breakdowns including by method of onset of labour, delivery method and place of delivery. It also shows the number of MSDS deliveries recorded during the period, with breakdowns including the baby's first feed type and the smoking status of women in early pregnancy.

The purpose of this publication is to inform and support strategic and policy-led processes for the benefit of patient care. This document will also be of interest to researchers, journalists and members of the public interested in NHS hospital activity in England.

Key Facts

HES data
• There were 636,401 deliveries in NHS hospitals during 2016-17, a decrease of 1.8 per cent from 2015-16.
• The proportion of deliveries with a spontaneous onset of labour has decreased from 68.7 per cent in 2006-07 to 55.1 per cent in 2016-17.
• The proportion of deliveries where labour was induced has increased from 20.3 per cent in 2006-07 to 29.4 per cent in 2016-17.

MSDS data
• In 2016-17, 355,850 deliveries were recorded within the MSDS by 111 maternity service providers.
• 80.0 per cent of women with babies born at 37 weeks gestation or more had skin-to-skin contact within one hour of the birth.
• 11.6 per cent of women with a recorded smoking status at their booking appointment were smokers.


Date Range: 01 April 2016 to 31 March 2017
Geographical coverage: England
Geographical granularity: Country, NHS Trusts, Hospital Trusts, Care Trusts, Regions

Have a question? Call us on 0300 303 5678 or contact

Tell us what you think of the new website beta.

We use cookies to provide you with a better service. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or find out how to manage cookies. Find out more