Caesarean sections now account for a QUARTER of all births – and older mothers are the reason why
18 per cent over mothers over 35 opted not to give birth naturallyRoyal College of Midwives raises concern about a quarter of mothers having the surgery
But teen pregnancies down by a fifth in five years
00:46 GMT, 7 December 2012
25 per cent of mothers in England had a Caesarean – a slight increase from the previous year
Older mothers are behind the number of Caesarean sections rising yet again.
The latest maternity figures show that 25 per cent of mothers in England had a caesarean – a slight increase from the previous year, according to data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
Older mothers were more inclined to have an elective C section – with 18 per cent over the age of 35 opting not to give birth naturally.
One in 10 mothers aged 25 to 34 had the elective surgery with just five per cent of those under 25 giving birth by caesarean, according to the hospital data from 2011 and 2012.
The Royal College of Midwives has raised concerns about the figures.
Louise Silverton, the RCM's director for midwifery, said: 'That means that one in four women giving birth is having a caesarean, which is a major surgical procedure.
'There has also been a rise in the number of elective caesareans while the number of emergency caesareans has remained stable. Questions must be asked as to what the driver is behind this increase in elective surgery.
'An increase in caesarean rates and instrumental deliveries often reflects a decrease in involvement with midwives, and this concerns me.'
The data also shows that more older women and fewer teenagers are having babies.
The rate of teenage mothers giving birth in English hospitals has fallen by a fifth in five years.
In 2011/12, 33,600 mothers aged 13 to 19 gave birth in NHS hospitals – a 22 per cent fall on the number recorded in 2006/07.
Older mothers were more inclined to have an elective C section – with 18 per cent over the age of 35 opting not to give birth naturally
In the same time frame, the number of mothers aged 40 to 49 increased by 16 per cent, from 22,200 to 25,600.
Ms Silverton added: 'This data also shows that the age profile of pregnant women is getting older.
“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.'
London has the most older mothers – but the youngest number of teenage pregnancies
HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan added: 'While the number of hospital deliveries in England has broadly risen – albeit relatively slowly – in recent years, almost 10,000 fewer hospital deliveries last year were to teen mums compared to five years previously.
'This drop in hospital teen deliveries has occurred in all regions of the country, although the North East still has the highest rate of deliveries among 13 to 19-year-olds according to its population size.
In contrast, London has the lowest rate for teenage mothers, but the highest rate for older mothers.