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Publication, Part of

NHS Maternity Statistics, England - 2020-21

Official statistics

Deliveries in 2020-21

Anaesthetic or analgesic use

Anaesthetic or analgesic maybe administered during labour to provide pain relief.

Overall the proportion of deliveries where an anaesthetic or analgesic was administered before or during delivery has decreased from 64 per cent in 2010-11 to 63 per cent of deliveries in 2020-21. Anaesthetic was administered in 60 per cent of deliveries for women aged under 20, compared to 67 per cent aged 40 years and over in 2020-21.


Method of delivery & age of mother

The final method of delivery may differ to that which occurs at the onset of labour.

The most common method of delivery is spontaneous for all age groups, with the exception of 40 years and over. Proportion of caesarean deliveries increase with age group and accounts for 49 per cent of deliveries to those women aged 40 and over.


Delivery complications

Labour is usually a straightforward process but sometimes complications arise that may need attention.

In 2020-21 the most prevalent delivery complications were ‘Perineal laceration during delivery’ which occurred in 40 per cent of deliveries and ‘Labour and delivery complicated by fetal stress [distress]’ which occurred in 27 per cent of deliveries.


Method of delivery & postnatal stay

The duration that women spend in hospital following delivery varies by the method of delivery.

In 2020-21, 80 per cent of women who had a spontaneous method of delivery were discharged either the same day or the next day after delivery. This compares to 58 per cent for instrumental and 49 per cent for caesarean methods of delivery.



Last edited: 9 March 2022 11:27 pm