The Royal College of Midwives has said the Government must address the "serious shortage" of midwives across the UK. Daybreak's chief correspondent Richard Gaisford reports.
An independent report has found that numbers of staff are one of the main challenges facing maternity services.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) report found that across the board one in 10 institutions were failing to meet staffing standards.
The non-availability of temporary staff and organisations leaving vacancies open for a number of months - particularly for qualified staff - can lead to compromises in the quality of care given to people, and staff training and supervision.
– A Department of Health spokeswoman
Local healthcare organisations, with their knowledge of the patients they serve, are best placed to decide how many doctors, nurses and other health professionals they need to deliver high quality maternity services.
"The ratio between midwives and the birth rate now is similar to the rate 10 years ago, both have increased by around 17%. The birth-to-midwives ratio does not indicate the safety or quality of service provided."
The Royal College of Midwives has launched an online petition calling for 5,000 more midwives in the NHS in England.
Births in England increased by over 21% between 2001 and 2010, but the number of midwives only increased by around 15%, from 18,048 to 20,790.
– Louise Silverton, deputy general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives
A failure to have adequate numbers of midwives leads to mistakes and lower quality care.
"We recognise investment in midwifery training but this will be wasted if the newly qualified midwives cannot find jobs.
"Once qualified, they need support from experienced midwives whist they consolidate the skills learned during their training.
"Many of these midwives are those whose jobs are currently under threat."
The Government must address the "serious shortage" of midwives, the Royal College of Midwives said.
Long-term vacancy rates for midwives have steadily increased in recent years, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report found.
Although births in England increased by over 21% between 2001 and 2010, the number of midwives only increased by around 15%, from 18,048 to 20,790.