Fewer Caesarean births in Sunderland

Fewer babies were delivered through caesareans in Sunderland last year than almost anywhere else in the country, new figures reveal.

C-section birth figures
C-section birth figures

Of the 625 births recorded in the area in 2020/21, data from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) show 25.9% were delivered by C-section.

That was up from 23% the year before, but still one of the lowest rates among local authorities in England.

The data shows that 32.5% of births in England over the year were delivered by caesarean section – up from 30.1% in 2019-20.

This rate is a record high.

Separate figures from the OHID also show that the fertility rate in England has fallen to the lowest level on record.

The general fertility rate – measured by the number of babies born for every 1,000 females aged between 15 and 44 – fell to 55.3 in 2020, the latest figures available.

In Sunderland, the rate was 51.6 in 2020 – up from 51.5 in 2019.

Dr Teresa Kelly, consultant obstetrician and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said said the national increase in C-sections is due to a higher number of complex births.

This, she added, was caused by the an increase in both obesity rates and a higher average age of women giving birth.

NHS England recently told hospitals to stop using caesarean section rates as performance targets.

Royal College of Midwives executive director Birte Harlev-Lam, said: “Decisions about clinical care should not be dictated by targets and should be made in the best interests of the woman and her baby, in collaboration with the woman."