This site is intended for health professionals only

Quarter of babies born by c-section

One in four women giving birth has a caesarean section, official figures show.

Data from the Office of National Statistics shows the number caesarean deliveries has increased by 0.1% to 25% (163,859) from 2010/11.

Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwifery (RCM), expressed “concern” over the rise as she said it may signal a “decrease of involvement” of midwives.

Older mothers were also more likely to opt for an elective c-section - with 18% over the age of 35 choosing not to give birth naturally.

Silverton said: “questions must be asked as to what the driver is behind this increase in elective surgery”.

This is compared to just one in 10 mothers aged 25 to 34 who chose elective caesarean surgery to give birth and 5% of those under 25.

The figures also shows the rate of teen mothers giving birth in English hospitals has fallen by more than a fifth in five years. The figure now stands ay 33,600 - down from 22% on 2006/07.

Furthermore, more older women now having babies with the number of mothers aged 40 to 49 increasing by 16% during the same period from 22,200 to 25,600.

“This data also shows that the age profile of pregnant women is getting older,” said Silverton.

“The baby boom, combined with the increasing age of mothers, means greater demands on maternity services, as pregnancies for older women can give rise to increased complications and a need for medical interventions, which demands more of midwives and others in the maternity team.

“As we are in the midst of a baby boom, these factors together with the increasing social complexity of care needs for all mothers, have a dramatic effect on the workload heaped on already overstretched midwives.”