The proportion of pregnant women having labour induced has increased by 2.2 percentage points over the past year, newly-published maternity data from NHS Digital reveals.
Inductions have increased from 29.4 per cent in 2016-17 to 31.6 per cent in 2017-18 according to Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) in today’s NHS Maternity Statistics 2017-18 report.
The rise follows a continuing trend – in 2007-8, induced labours accounted for 20.4 per cent of deliveries.
Between 2016-17 and 2017-18, the proportion of caesareans undertaken before the onset of labour increased from 15.5 per cent to 16.2 per cent, whilst spontaneous labours decreased from 55.1 per cent to 52.2 per cent.
Ten years ago (in 2007-8), 11.0 per cent of deliveries were caesareans before the onset of labour and 68.6 per cent were through spontaneous labour.
There were 626,000 deliveries in NHS hospitals during 2017-18, a decrease of 1.6 per cent from 2016-17. This is the lowest reported level in the past ten years.
It is the second year that NHS Maternity Statistics is examining data from HES and experimental data from the Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS) with the aim of providing a more complete picture of NHS maternity activity.
Additional figures in the report from the MSDS show:
- Skin to skin contact: In 2017-18, 81 per cent of women with babies born at 37 weeks gestation or more had skin-to-skin contact within one hour of birth.
- Breast milk: Of the 389,000 babies submitted to the MSDS with a recorded feed type, 74 per cent received breast milk or donor milk for their first feed.
- Smoking: The proportion of deliveries in 2017-18 where the mother was recorded as a current smoker at the booking appointment was 31 per cent of women aged under 20. Among women aged 40 and over, 6 per cent were smokers at their booking appointment.
- BMI: The proportion of women with a BMI in the obese range (BMI over 30) was lowest for those aged under 20 (14 per cent) and highest for those aged 40 and over (24 per cent).