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Mothers and babies

The Marmot Review identified that ‘giving every child the best start in life is crucial to reducing health inequalities across the life course.  The foundations for virtually every aspect of human development – physical, intellectual and emotional – are laid in early childhood.’[1]

In 2016, 1.5 per cent of all live births at term in Herefordshire had a low birth weight; a significantly lower proportion than nationally (2.8 per cent) and regionally (3.2 per cent).

Caesarean sections are often required for a number of maternal and infant reasons. By their very nature (i.e. they are used when there are complications) they are likely to be associated with an increased risk of problems.  In 2015/16, 29.6 per cent of deliveries in Herefordshire were by caesarean section, a significantly higher proportion than nationally (26.3 per cent) and regionally (27.1 per cent).

The breastfeeding rate in Herefordshire has shown a continual increase since 2010/11 and compares very well with the national rate. In 2015/16 the proportion of mothers in Herefordshire who breastfed their babies for at least six to eight weeks after birth was 52.3 per cent, a figure significantly higher than that reported for England (43.2 per cent). The health and wellbeing benefits of exclusively breastfeeding infants from birth up to the age of six months are well known, and mothers who are unable to breastfeed for health or other reason are encouraged to provide a good milk supplement for their infants.

High levels of hospital admissions of either mother or babies soon after birth can suggest problems with either the timing or quality of health assessments before the initial transfer or with the postnatal care once the mother is home.  In Herefordshire in 2015/16 the crude rate of hospital admissions of babies under 14 days was 113.7 per 1,000; much higher than nationally ((66.3 per 1,000) and regionally (63.7 per 1.000).  In 2015/16, the crude rate of hospital admissions for gastroenteritis in infants aged 2, 3 and 4 years was also significantly higher in Herefordshire (93.2 per 10,000) than nationally (53.7 per 10,000) and regionally (66.6 per 10,000).

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[1] Fair society, healthy lives: Strategic review of health inequalities in England post-2010, Marmot MG, Allen J, Goldblatt P, Boyce T, McNeish D, Grady M, Geddes I.,The Marmot Review, 2010, p.22.  Available at: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/fair-society-healthy-lives-full-report.pdf

Last updated: Thursday, August 23, 2018