- Each year there are around 3,800-4,000 births to Wakefield mums, in 2020 there were 3,844 births.
- The birth rate in Wakefield for 2020 is 60.1 births per 1,000 women aged 15-44, this is slightly higher than the England average of 55.3 births per 1,000.
- Birth rates have been decreasing slightly over the last 5 years following national and regional trends of falling birth rates.
- In 2020 birth rates varied across the wards of Wakefield with only Pontefract South having a significantly different birth rate, this was lower than the Wakefield average.
- Overall birth rates were higher in the most deprived areas and lowest in the least deprived areas.
- Birth rates vary across the wards of Wakefield but the areas with the highest and lowest rates changes over time.
- The stillbirth rate in Wakefield (3.5 per 1,000 births, 2018-2020) is similar to the England average (3.9 per 1,000 births, 2018-2020).
- Smoking and levels of obesity in pregnancy are higher in Wakefield than the England average.
Each year there are around 3,800-4,000 births to Wakefield mums, in 2020 there were 3,844 births. The birth rate in Wakefield for 2020 is 60.1 births per 1,000 women aged 15-44, this is slightly higher than the England average of 55.3 births per 1,000. Across Yorkshire and the Humber Wakefield is the local authority with the second highest birth rate after Bradford. The teenage pregnancy rate is the same as the Yorkshire and Humber average (0.9%) but higher than the average for England (0.6%) and has decreased over time.
Trends in birth rates over time
Wakefield is following the national and regional trend of decreasing birth rates over the last 5 years (from 65.9 per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 2016).
Comparing Wakefield indicators to national figures
The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) provides national and local data on a wide range of birth related indicators and allows comparisons with local areas and also areas with similar demographic characteristics to Wakefield (CIPFA nearest neighbours), here are some selected indicators related to births, further indicators can be found on the OHID Fingertips website .
Comparing birth rates within Wakefield District
Exploring birth rates across the Wakefield District there was some variation between wards. In 2020 birth rates in Airedale and Ferry Fryston (69.1 per 1,000) and Wakefield East (69.7 per 1,000) were the highest, the birth rate in Pontefract South (48.6 per 1,000) was significantly below the Wakefield District average of 59.6 per 1,000.
Comparing birth rates by deprivation based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) using the postcode of the mother’s home address, birth rates were higher in the most deprived deprivation deciles (66.7 per 1,000 in decile 1 (most deprived), 67.4 per 1,000 in decile 2) and lowest in the least deprived deprivation decile in 2022 (50.8 per 1,000), with a similar trend in other years.
Note: Birth rate figures differ slightly from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) birth rate estimates possibly due to differences in how maternal postcodes were assigned to wards.
Stillbirth and infant mortality rates
The stillbirth rate in Wakefield is similar to the England average at 3.5 per 1,000 births (2018-2020), stillbirth rates across England have been falling since 1993 . Infant mortality in the first year of life is also close to that of the whole of England at 3.3 infant deaths under 1 year of age per 1000 live births (England: 3.9 per 1,000, 2018-2020). Infant mortality is an important measure of the health of an area and community as they are one of the most vulnerable population groups .
Health during pregnancy
Several lifestyle factors can increase the risks of stillbirth, low birth weight and other health problems for mothers and babies. These include levels of obesity and smoking during pregnancy. The OHID Fingertips data show that Wakefield has relatively high levels of obesity (25.6% compared to an England average of 22.1%, 2018-19) and smoking in early pregnancy (19.7% compared to an England average of 12.8%, 2018-19). Smoking by mothers around the time of birth has decreased over time in Wakefield but is still higher in Wakefield (14.7%) than the England average (9.1%) for 2021/22 .
- Office for National Improvement and Disparities (OHID), Fingertips Public Health Profiles, https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/
- Quale, Gemma, 2020, National Statistical (Office for National Statistics blog): Explaining Trends in Baby Loss in England and Wales, https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2020/02/20/explaining-trends-in-baby-loss-in-england-and-
- Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2020, State of Child Health in the UK: Infant Mortality Section. https://stateofchildhealth.rcpch.ac.uk/evidence/mortality/infant-mortality/
- NHS Digital, 2022, Statistics on Women’s Smoking Status at Time of Delivery (SATOD): England, https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-
- OHID Health Profiles
- The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) maternal and child health profiles provide many indicators relating to birth and pregnancy including birth rates, prematurity rates and numbers of low birth weight babies.
- NHS Digital Smoking at Time of Delivery
- NHS Digital, who help collate a large amount of data about the NHS have created a data dashboard to summarise the rate of women smoking at time of delivery (SATOD).