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Publication, Part of

NHS Maternity Statistics, England 2019-20

Official statistics

Deliveries over time

This section reports on the number of reported deliveries. A delivery is the term used to describe child birth in HES data and is the ending of a pregnancy by one or more babies leaving a woman's uterus by vaginal passage or caesarean section.

Within this section we explore how the relationship between reported number of deliveries by women’s age group, type of delivery at both the onset and end of labour and the frequency that anaesthetics and analgesics were administered either before or during delivery.

Percentages in the following commentary, unless otherwise stated, are based on total ‘knowns’, e.g. the percentage of caesareans is based on all deliveries with a known method of delivery, excluding those with an unknown method of delivery.

Summary of deliveries

The chart below shows how the number of deliveries has changed over the last 10 years.

There were 591,759 deliveries in NHS hospitals during 2019-20. This is a decrease of 2.0 per cent from 2018-19.

Over the past ten years numbers of deliveries in NHS Hospitals fluctuated but are now at their lowest reported level in this time.

Deliveries by age group

When comparing deliveries by age group to a base year of 2009-10 deliveries for age groups of women aged 30 to 39 years has increased whilst those other age groups have declined. Women in the 30-39 age group had a percentage increase of 5 per cent in 2019-20 compared to 2009-10.

Deliveries amongst women aged under 20 have more than halved since 2009-10 with 16,961 deliveries in 2019-20.

Method of onset

Method of onset describes the means by which labour was initiated. Where this begins without pharmacological, mechanical, or operative intervention is said to be spontaneous. 

Spontaneous method of onset is most common as a proportion of total deliveries but has decreased from 68 per cent in 2009-10 to 49 per cent in 2019-20.

Caesarean method of onset increased from 12 per cent to 17 per cent and induced method of onset from 21 per cent to 33 per cent in the period 2009-10 to 2019-20.

Last edited: 21 December 2020 10:51 am