Maternity statistics - England

Maternity statistics for England have been published for the year ending March 2013. In England statistics are collected for ‘number of deliveries’ i.e. women giving birth, rather than ‘number of births’ i.e. babies born.

Key points

  • The number of deliveries in NHS hospitals increased in the past year by 2319 deliveries from 668,936 in 2011-12 to 671,255 in 2012-13, a 0.3 per cent rise over the previous year.
  • The caesarean rate has increased by 0.5 per cent to 25.5 per cent (167,283) in 2012-13. There has been a rise in the number of elective caesareans (0.5 per cent) while emergency caesarean rates have remained stable. This continues the trend of increasing elective caesarean rates and stable emergency caesarean rates.
  • The induction rate is up 1.2 per cent to 23.3 per cent. This continues a recent upward trend.
  • The instrumental delivery rate has decreased by 0.1 per cent this year to 12.8 per cent, with a slight rise in the forceps rate from 6.6 per cent to 6.8 per cent and a drop in the use of ventouse by 0.3 per cent. This has halted the trend of increasing instrumental rates.
  • 61.7 per cent of women had a spontaneous delivery, 0.1 higher than in 2011-12 when it 61.6 per cent, but lower than in 2010-11 when it was 62.2 per cent.

    BirthChoiceUK has calculated that in 2012-13, 44.5 per cent of women giving birth in hospital had an "unassisted delivery” (without induction, caesarean, instrumental delivery or episiotomy but including epidurals and other anaesthetic). This has decreased from 45.5 per cent in 2011-12.

  2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
Caesarean Rate 24.9% 25.0% 25.5%
 Elective  10.1% 10.2% 10.7%
 Emergency 14.8% 14.8% 14.8%
Instrumental Delivery Rate 12.5% 12.9% 12.8%
 Forceps  6.3%  6.6%  6.8%
 Ventouse  6.2%  6.3%  6.0%
Induction Rate 21.3% 22.1% 23.3%


The NHS Maternity Statistics, England: 2012-13 can be found on the Health and Social Care Information Centre website at

The maternity statistics are subject to HSCIC copyright.
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