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Childbirth

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the most common age for women to give birth for the first time was in each year since 1987. (134458)

I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 24 May 2007:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your question about the most common age for women to give birth for the first time in each year since 1987. (134458)

The most recent year for which data are available is 2005. For each year between 1987 and 2005, the table below shows the most common age at which women had their first live birth in England and Wales. Figures are given for both the age at which the largest number of women had their first birth and the age at which the birth rate for childless women was highest.

Most common age of first birth, based on:

Largest numbers of first births

Highest birth rates for childless women

1987

24

28

1988

25

29

1989

25

30

1990

25

28

1991

26

28

1992

26

29

1993

27

29

1994

27

29

1995

27

30

1996

28

30

1997

28

29

1998

27

30

1999

28

31

2000

29

31

2001

30

31

2002

31

31

2003

31

31

2004

31

31

2005

31

31

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assumptions were made about the number of live births in each year until 2009 in order to inform her Department’s document “Maternity Matters”, gateway reference 7586 of 3 April 2007. (137394)

Population predictions, including predictions of birth rates and trends, are developed by the Government Actuarial Department. We have used these forecasts as the basis for future trends in live births.

“Maternity Matters” is a comprehensive programme for improving choice, access and continuity of care in maternity services. It sets out a strategy that will put women and their partners at the centre of their local maternity service provision. It highlights how commissioners, providers, maternity professionals and user representatives will be able to use the health reform agenda to shape provision to meet the needs of women and their families.

In implementing the recommendations of “Maternity Matters” local managers will need to take into account a range of issues. These include how their services are organised within a maternity network, the provision of safe, responsive care for women with complex and straightforward pregnancies at all times, and arrangements for transfers across the network that take into account emergencies and geographical factors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many births there were in each hospital consultant-led maternity unit in (a) 2005 and in (b) 2006. (138708)

[holding answer 22 May 2007]: Information is not collected centrally in the form requested. “NHS Maternity Statistics, England: 2004-5”, the last year for which we have figures, shows there were 584,100 hospital births and 13,700 home births. This equates to 97.7 per cent. hospital and 2.3 per cent. home births. Of the hospital births, 54 per cent. were in consultant wards, 40 per cent. were in joint consultant/midwife/general practitioner (GP) wards, 4 per cent. in midwife-led wards and 1 per cent. in GP wards. We are not able to break down these figures by national health service trust.