Older mothers, obesity and a fear of childbirth are driving record numbers of caesareans, according to experts.
Last year almost 28 per cent of women who gave birth had a caesarean, a three-fold rise since the 1980s.
This included 12 per cent who had a planned caesarean – one in eight – the remainder had one as an emergency.
The figures from NHS Digital are the highest since records began in 1980.
They also show that only half of women who gave birth last year went into labour naturally, 55 per cent.