birthThe number of babies born in England and Wales has increased by more than a fifth in the past decade, new government figures have shown.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed there were 723,913 live births in 2011, up from 594,634 in 2001.

Twins, triplets and other multiple births also increased over the decade, partly due to fertility treatments and the sheer number of births has raised concerns from midwives about the health service's ability to cope.

Royal College of Midwives chief executive Cathy Warwick has suggested that maternity units are "under intense strain and are at a crucial tipping point".

There were 352,939 girls and 370,974 boys born in England and Wales in 2011 while the figures also showed a drop in the number of babies born at home rather than in hospital.

This boom is also putting pressure on school places with some projections estimating that 450,000 new primary places would be needed in England alone by 2015.

The Office for National Statistics reported concluded that "the combined effect of multiple government policies and the changing economic climate does not have a clear impact on fertility in a particular direction."

Posted 07/02/2013 by richard.hook@pavpub.com