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This is a publication on maternity activity in English NHS hospitals. This report examines data relating to delivery and birth episodes in 2017-18, and the booking appointments for these deliveries. This annual publication covers the financial year ending March 2018.
Data is included 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. As the number of deliveries recorded in the MSDS is only 78 per cent of the number of deliveries recorded in HES, the partial coverage of the MSDS both geographically and over time means that figures from the MSDS should not be interpreted as England level figures for 2017-18.
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.
• There were 626,203 deliveries in NHS hospitals during 2017-18, a decrease of 1.6 per cent from 2016-17
• The proportion of deliveries with a spontaneous onset of labour has decreased from 68.6 per cent in 2007-08 to 52.2 per cent in 2017-18
• The proportion of deliveries where labour was induced has increased from 20.4 per cent in 2007-08 to 32.6 per cent in 2017-18