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Wales birth stats show high demand

10 August, 2016

Wales birth stats show high demand

Demand on maternity services in Wales remains high it is stated, as birth statistics are today (10 August) published.

The number of recorded live births in the country in 2015 was 33,361.

While the figures show a 1% fall from the 2014 total, this represents an increase of 9% since 2001. 

The proportion of young mothers has fallen since 2005, with 4.6% of live births in 2015 being born to mothers aged under 20 – less than half of what it was in 2005 (9.5%).

The data also shows a fall in home births, lower breastfeeding rates among younger mothers, and large variations in breastfeeding rates across Wales.

The highest breastfeeding rates were seen for babies of women resident in Powys Teaching Local Health Board (72%) and lowest for those in Cwm Taf University Local Health Board (50%).

Vicky Richards, RCM national officer for Wales, said: ‘In terms of pressure on services the slight fall in births is offset by the increasing complexity of births.

‘Demands on services remain extremely high and we continue to see Welsh maternity services facing huge pressures.

‘Wales has an ageing midwifery workforce with many midwives approaching retirement. It is imperative that the Welsh Government takes heed of these issues when planning for midwifery training places in the future.

‘This is so we can continue to have safe, sustainable services and that we have enough midwives to ensure that women, babies and their families get the best possible care.’

She also said that there is a clear need for more breasfeeding support, especially for young mothers and to tackle to geographical disparity.

Vicky said: ‘Breastfeeding lays the foundations for an individual’s future health and wellbeing. It brings great benefits for society as a whole in terms of reduced spending on ill health.’

The Welsh birth data can be viewed by clicking here.

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