Newham tops UK’s birth league

A record number of babies were born to mothers in Newham last year, continuing the trend for the borough which now has the highest birth rate in the country.

Statistics from NHS East London and the City show there were 6,059 babies born at Newham university hospital trust in the financial year 2010-2011.

The borough has a total fertility rate of 3.18. The average for England is 2.

Newham also tops the London boroughs for having the highest number of live births. In the same period in Ealing there were 5,861 and in Wandsworth there were 5,546.

Rachel Flowers, Joint Director of Public Health in Newham for NHS East London and the City and the London Borough of Newham said: “Newham has the highest birth rate in London. The number of births at Newham University Hospital Trust were 6,059 (for the 2010/11 financial year). In that same year it is estimated that the total number of births to women who live in Newham was 7,389 (this takes into account women who live in the borough but have their baby elsewhere).

“To support local women the NHS in Newham, last year, launched the Newham Maternity Helpline that gives local people direct access to a midwife from 10am to 8pm seven days a week by calling the Helpline number on 020 8090 9999. The Newham Maternity Helpline is part of a raft of initiatives to encourage local women to get their first health check with the Maternity Booking Centre at Newham University (NHS) Hospital Trust before they are 12 weeks pregnant.

“The modernisation of Newham’s maternity services has so far seen women being able to access maternity services freely and directly (regardless of GP registration), an increase in antenatal appointments and better recruitment and retention of midwives.”

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Last year, Newham University Hospital opened a new maternity complex at its Glen Road, Plaistow site which is due to be completed next year.

The new �17.5 million unit is designed to cope with 6,500 births a year - a thousand more than it could previously.

As the unit delivered its first baby, Scott Johnston, head of midwifery at the hospital, said: “Newham has one of the country’s youngest populations and this is a partial response as to why we have a higher birth rate than many places.

“Equally, Newham has one of the most diverse communities in the country and we know that for many cultures, multiple child birth and often at a younger age, are common.”