Use of pain relief during labour on the decline in UK
More women are shunning pain relief in labour compared to a decade ago, figures suggest.
New NHS Digital data shows that the proportion of deliveries where an anaesthetic or analgesic - such as epidural, pethidine or gas and air - were used has fallen from 67% in 2008/09 to 61% in 2018/19.
Women over 40 were more likely to opt for pain relief than those aged under 20, data showed.
Overall, the number of NHS deliveries is at its lowest level in a decade, falling 7.5% from 652,638 in 2008/09 to 603,766 in 2018/19.
From 2017/18 to 2018/19, there was a 3.6% drop.
However, women in their 30s are bucking the trend, with 7% more deliveries in this age group across the decade.
That figure jumped from 279,206 deliveries in 2008/09, to 298,590 in 2018/19.