THE birth rate across Wearside and Durham is rising, according to new figures.
In Sunderland, the number of babies born grew by 2.2 per cent last year to 3,199.
In County Durham, the figures showed a much bigger rise of 7.2 per cent to 5,846 in 2010.
In the Easington area, there was an even greater increase, up 13.6 per cent to 1,247 last year, the Office for National Statistics report showed.
The rise in the birth rate nationally has prompted a call for more midwives.
The number of live births rose by 2.4 per cent in a year across the country and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said this, along with the shortfall of midwives, is risking the safety of mums and babies.
The RCM says an extra 4,700 midwives are needed to ensure they can meet the demand and ensure safe deliveries.
The 2.4 per cent rise in England’s birthrate is the highest for almost 40 years and makes a 22 per cent increase since 2001.
In the North East, the number of live births in 2010 was 30,826, a 3.5 per cent increase on 2009 and an 18.8 per cent increase since 2001.
The RCM claims that in January 2010 David Cameron as opposition leader promised 3,000 more midwives, but this has not been honoured.
Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the RCM, said: “The Government has committed to protecting student midwife training places, but this is only for one year and does little good if there are not jobs for those midwives to go to.
“Without central direction it is simply too easy for hard-pressed NHS organisations to save money by cutting midwifery jobs.
“Midwives are working harder and doing more with less and maternity services and the quality of care are suffering.”