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Sunday 16th June 2019

Few women give birth at home

11th November 2011

New data has offered an insight into birth trends in the UK.


Latest figures show that only one in 40 women now gives birth at home compared to a third of all mothers half a century ago.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) says that in 2010 only 2.5% of women gave birth at home, down from 2.7% in 2009 and 2.9% in 2008. The record low, between 1985 and 1988, was 0.9%.

In 1960, the figure was 33.2% but the fall has been put down to NHS campaigns persuading women to give birth in hospital because of poor housing.

Much of that change happened between 1963 and 1974 when numbers fell from 30% to 4.2%.

Highest percentage of home births was in the South West (3.8%) while the North East had the lowest at 1.2%.

Women aged 35-39 were most likely to deliver at home (3.5%), compared with 1% of the under-20s.

ONS data also revealed women now have an average of two children each – the highest fertility rate since 1973 – while the multiple birth rate fell in 2010 to 15.7 per 1,000 women giving birth, compared with 16.4 in 2009.

However, the Royal College of Midwives says it is disappointed with the trend and wants to see it reversed.

RCM deputy general secretary Louise Silverton said: “I have no doubt that this fall is related to cost-cutting within the NHS which sees resources pulled out of the community and into the hospitals, all of which is going against this Government’s commitment to bring services closer to home.”


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