The UK is in need of more midwives to support pregnant women, it has been claimed.
Sarah Montagu, administration secretary for the Association of Radical Midwives, said that the country is in need of an extra 3,000 midwives.
However, she asserted that the quality of care on offer is of a good standard.
"Although there are a couple of thousand midwives in training, the demographics of midwifery professionals is that there are a lot of midwives in the age brackets [of] 50 and 60 who are coming up for retirement," explained Ms Montagu.
A high birth rate is also contributing to the need for more people to care for pregnant women.
The comments come after research published in the British Medical Journal revealed that delivering an infant outside of the normal working week can increase the risk of death for the child.
In fact, a 26 per cent attributable factor of neonatal deaths was ascribed to intrapartum anoxia associated with delivery out of hours.