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Publication, Part of

NHS Maternity Statistics, England 2019-20

Official statistics

Current Chapter

NHS Maternity Statistics, England 2019-20


This is a publication on maternity activity in English NHS hospitals. This report examines data relating to delivery and birth episodes in 2019-20, and the booking appointments for these deliveries. This annual publication covers the financial year ending March 2020.

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. For data in 2019-20, the MSDS transitioned to a new version of the dataset. MSDS v2.0 is an update to the existing data set that introduces a new structure and content, including clinical terminology, in order to meet current clinical practice and incorporate new requirements. It is designed to meet requirements that resulted from the National Maternity Review, which led to the publication of the Better Births report in February 2016. This is the first publication of data from MSDS v2.0, therefore data from this year is not directly comparable to previous years.

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 folic acid use.

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 591,759 deliveries during 2019-20.

This is a decrease of 2.0 per cent from 2018-19.

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

73.4 per cent of babies born at 37 weeks had skin-to-skin contact within 1 hour of birth.

Source: MSDS

Folic acid supplement

85.8 per cent of women reported taking a folic acid supplement prior to, or on confirmation of, pregnancy.

Source: MSDS

Last edited: 21 December 2020 10:51 am