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Pregnancy and birth

There are approximately 650,000 births each year across England and Wales. Care for women and their babies during pregnancy, birth and the post-natal period is provided by midwives, obstetricians, general practitioners and other healthcare professionals.


While the overwhelming majority of births in England and Wales are safe, there are steps that can be taken to ensure safety across maternity services and reduce unnecessary risks.

The National Reporting and Learning Service (NRLS) leads on a series of work related to improving safety during pregnancy and birth.


The NRLS is a partner in the Safer Births Initiative with The King’s Fund, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Royal College of Midwives, Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries and NHS Litigation Authority.


The NRLS is working with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health on a programme of work to improve patient safety in neonatal care. This includes a Patient Safety Alert on the use of a care bundle for the safer use of intravenous gentamicin to neonates.


The NRLS has also worked with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to develop a care bundle to improve safety for women with placenta praevia following caesarean section. This is part of the NPSA's Intrapartum Toolkit.


In-hospital maternal death from post-partum haemorrhage after elective caesarean section (excluding cases where imaging has identified placenta accreta) has been established as a Never Event.


The  WHO surgical safety checklist has been adapted for maternity cases to ensure it is applicable to maternity care.


Resources relating to pregnancy and birth are listed below.