MORE than 1,400 more babies were born in Gwent in the last year compared to 10 years ago, figures from an annual report have revealed – more than a quarter born by caesarian section.

Last year – April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 – there were 5,998 deliveries in the Aneurin Bevan Health Board, the majority of which were at the Royal Gwent Hospital, a rise of 31 per cent on 2003/04 when 4,552 deliveries were recorded.

These figures translate to more births as the data doesn’t take into consideration instances with more than one birth per delivery such as twins and triplets.

Of those born last year, 28.5 per cent were delivered by caesarian section, a rise within the health board of 2.9 per cent in the last decade.

The report, published by the Welsh Government, looks at data from 2003 to 2013 of birth deliveries in hospitals across all the Welsh health boards.

The vast amount of children born in Wales are delivered in hospitals – just three per cent took place at home or elsewhere in 2012.

There has been a trend over the past ten years towards shorter hospital stays for all types of delivery, said the report. Last year 72 per cent of all stays within the Aneurin Bevan Health Board were for one to three days.

The number of older women giving birth has risen by a third in ten years.

A total of 52 women aged 45 or over gave birth in Wales last year compared to 39 in 2002/03.

The report shows six out of 10 mums over the age of 45 in Wales gave birth via caesarean section last year.

The percentage of mothers aged 45 years and over and having caesareans in Wales has increased from 46 per cent in 2003/04 to 60 per cent in 2012/13.

But only 37 per cent of all mothers who had caesareans stayed in hospital for four or more days, compared to 65 per cent 10 years ago.

Only 11 per cent of mothers who had unassisted births stayed in hospital for four or more days, compared to 13 per cent 10 years ago, and 23 per cent of all deliveries in Wales were induced, compared to 19 per cent in 2004/05 – the earliest data available.