Figures show more babies are being born in NHS hospitals and more women are having Caesareans
Data from the NHS Information Centre show for the year 2007/08, 650,000 deliveries took place in NHS hospitals in England, 20,000 more births than the previous 12 months.
Together with a 3.3% rise in NHS births, the rate of Caesareans also increased slightly, by 0.3% to around 24.6% of deliveries, equivalent to 153,406 births.
The figures also show that the number of instrumental deliveries increased to 75,253, a rise of 0.6% to 12.1%.
Despite the increase in more complex deliveries recovery times after giving birth decreased, with almost three-quarters (74.1%) of women with spontaneous deliveries spending a day or less in hospital after the births, compared to 72% the year before.
The number of women who required pain relief, including epidurals, general or spinal anaesthetics, during delivery rose to 36.5%, up on the 35.8% of the previous year.
The statistics also reveal that midwives gave up a small share of their involvement in births to doctors last year.
Midwives conducted 60.3% of deliveries for the year 2007/08, compared to 61.7% previously and hospital doctors carried out 36.2%, up from 35%.