- Expected births in 2012 - 423,234 males and 403,095 females.
- There were 688,120 live births in England in 2011 up over 124,000 since the start of the baby boom in 2001.
- There were 723,913 live births in England and Wales in 2011, compared with 723,165 in 2010 (a rise of 0.1 per cent). There were 594,634 in 2001.
- The small rise in 2011 represents a continuation of the increasing numbers of live births recorded since 2001.
- During this period the number of live births has risen by 22 per cent from 594,634 in 2001 despite a small fall between 2008 and 2009.
An RCM spokeswoman has said that director Sam Taylor-Johnson and actors Pam Ferris, Stephen McGann and Terri Dwyer have also signed the petition calling for more midwifes.
– RCM general secretary and chief executive Cathy Warwick
We are touched and delighted that so many high-profile celebrities, actors, actresses and footballers are backing our campaign.
Many women are not currently getting one-to-one midwifery care in labour or choice of place of birth. We also know many women do not always get the best care at the vital time after the birth of their baby, especially once they go home.
The Government know there is a problem and a dire shortage of midwives, and are committed to training more midwives, but what is needed are more midwifery jobs.
To sign the e-petition visit: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/13716
- The latest figures show that the north-east and north-west had a shortfall of less than 10%.
- The east Midlands and east of England needed 41% more midwives.
- The south-east is over one-third short of staff.
- A medium-sized maternity unit delivering 3,000 babies a year would need around 91 midwives, according to the RCM.
- Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not have midwife shortages at the moment.
England and Arsenal footballer Theo Walcott and his mother, a retired midwife, have joined the midwife campaign.
Walcott said: "I have grown up knowing how important midwives are because my mum was a midwife for the NHS and also worked independently.
"She taught mums about healthy eating and giving babies the best start in life."
The Royal College of Midwives' (RCM) online petition currently has just over 67,000 signatures and the RCM says it must reach 100,000 by August 22.
The Royal College of Midwives says 5,000 more midwives are needed across England to keep up with rising birthrate and growing numbers of obese and older pregnant women who need extra care.
Midwife numbers have not kept pace with the birthrate in England, which has risen 22% in the past two decades.
Over the same period the number of midwives is said to have risen by less than 17%.
Call The Midwife star Jessica Raine has joined a campaign calling for more midwives in England.
The actress, who plays the lead role in the hit BBC drama series, has signed the Royal College of Midwives' (RCM) online petition for 5,000 more midwives.