A series of fatal failings in maternity care is evidence of a systemic problem within the NHS
Giving birth used to be one of the most dangerous things a woman could do. In parts of 15th-century Europe, women wrote wills as soon as they knew they were pregnant. In the 17th and 18th centuries, around one in 25 women died in childbirth. It was a danger that cut right across class, from queens to domestic servants, and one that women had to face over and over again. For their babies, the risks were even higher.
It is a miracle of modern medicine that the joy of getting pregnant no longer has to be tempered with the very real prospect that you or your baby may not survive the birth. A true marker of human progress is the fact that maternal and infant mortality have dropped dramatically in the UK even as births have become more complicated, with babies getting bigger and women having children later.