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Publication, Part of

NHS Maternity Statistics, England 2018-19 [PAS]

Official statistics


This is a publication on maternity activity in English NHS hospitals. This report examines data relating to delivery and birth episodes in 2018-19, and the booking appointments for these deliveries. This annual publication covers the financial year ending March 2019.

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. The number of deliveries recorded in the MSDS is 91 per cent of the number of deliveries recorded in HES, so 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 2018-19.

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. For the first time, this publication contains information about the mother’s weekly alcohol intake at booking appointment and folic acid use from the MSDS.

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.

Number of deliveries in NHS hospitals

There were 603,766 deliveries during 2018-19.

This is a decrease of 3.6% from 2017-18.

Source: HES

Method of delivery

The most common method of delivery was spontaneous.

This was the most common across all age groups, apart from 40 and over where the most common method of delivery was caesarean.

Source: HES

Skin-to-skin contact

82% of women with babies born at 37 weeks had skin-to-skin contact within 1 hour of birth.

Source: MSDS

Smoking status

12% of women were recorded as a current smoker at their booking appointment.

The proportion was highest among women aged under 20 (30%).

Source: MSDS

Last edited: 31 October 2019 9:03 am