9 November 2017
NHS Digital must be quoted as the source of these figures
Regional data available in this report
The proportion of pregnant women having a spontaneous labour2 has decreased over the past year from 57.4 per cent in 2015-16 to 55.1 per cent in 2016-17. Over the same time, the proportion of caesareans undertaken before the onset of labour has increased from 14.7 per cent to 15.5 per cent and induced labours have increased from 27.9 per cent to 29.4 per cent, figures from NHS Digital show.
In 2006-07, the proportion of pregnant women having a spontaneous labour was 68.7 per cent, while caesareans undertaken before the onset of labour accounted for11.0 per cent of deliveries and induced labours for 20.3 per cent.
There was a total of 636,000 deliveries3 in NHS hospitals during 2016-17, a decrease of 1.8 per cent4 from 2015-16 (648,000).
NHS Maternity Statistics 2016-17 includes data relating to delivery and birth episodes and their booking appointments. For the first time, this publication examines data from Hospital Episode Statistics (HES)5 and experimental data from the Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS)6 with the aim of providing a more complete picture of NHS maternity activity.
Additional figures in the report from HES show:
Use of an anaesthetic or analgesic
The proportion of pregnant women who make use of anaesthetic or analgesics before or during delivery has increased slightly in the past year from 59.4 per cent in 2015-16 to 60.0 per cent of deliveries in 2016-17. The proportion of pregnant women who make use of anaesthetic or analgesics before or during is however lower than that seen in 2006-07 where it was 68.6 per cent
Additional analysis using experimental statistics from the MSDS, which account for 55.9 per cent of the deliveries reported in HES, show that7:
Skin to skin contact
In 2016-17, 80.0 per cent of women with babies born at 37 weeks gestation8 or more had skin-to-skin contact within one hour of birth9.
74.0 per cent of babies received breast milk (maternal or donor) for their first feed10.
11.6 per cent of women with a recorded smoking status at their booking appointment (which NICE recommends should ideally take place by 10 weeks into the pregnancy) were smokers.
Previously published official figures from the Smoking at Time of Delivery (SATOD) collection for 2016/17 show that 10.5 per cent of women were smokers12.
Data from the MSDS also shows the proportion of deliveries where the mother was recorded as a current smoker at the time of their booking appointment decreased with the mother's age. 29.7 per cent of women aged under 20 with a delivery in 2016-17 recorded in the MSDS were smokers at the time of their booking appointment. Among women aged 40 and over, only 6.2 per cent were smokers at their booking appointment.
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