Birth facts and figures

How are babies being born?

2,000 babies are born in the UK every day (UK National Statistics Office

In 2011

  • 41.8% of babies were born ‘normally’ – with no intervention
  • 24.8% were born by caesarean
  • 12.5% were born with help from either a ventouse or forceps
  • 21.3% were born after their mothers have been induced

The number of babies delivered by caesarean continues to grow year on year. This increase corresponds with a decrease in ‘normal’ births



Where are babies being born?

In 2011 Just over 90% were born in hospital

7% were born in midwife led units

2.49% of all babies born were born at home

Office of National Statistics


Let’s talk money

How much does birth cost?

  • A planned birth in an obstetric unit of a hospital for a woman who has already had a baby (the most expensive birth option)  –  £1,142 per woman
  • Planned homebirth (cheapest birth option) – £780 per woman (British Medical Journal, April 2012)
  • Caesarean birth costs average £1701
  • Vaginal delivery £749
  • Each 1% rise in c-section rate costs the NHS £5 million, that’s the equivalent of 167 midwives (Lester, 2005, The Argument for Caseload Midwifery)

(Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology)

The overall increase in babies born by C-Section has not been accompanied by a measurable improvement in outcomes for the baby and has been shown to carry an increased risk of morbidity for the mother when compared to normal delivery

(NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement)

By creating more Midwife Led Units (MLU) and ensuring that all mum-to-be are given the option of a homebirth (if there is no medical reason not to have the baby at home) the NHS will save money. That’s not to say that homebirth or birth in a MLU is right for every mum, but offering everyone the choice makes sense from the mums point of view and financially too.

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