Are women losing ability to give birth naturally?

Dr Michel Odent also warned that the increasing tendency towards women having their labours induced could impair their ability to breastfeed.

He urged midwives to do more to encourage natural births and even suggested they should calm mothers-to-be by knitting in the corner of the room.

In a stark warning, he said that if current trends continue, the ‘future of the human capacity to give birth is at risk’.

More than a quarter of births in the UK now involve a caesarean, with rates having doubled since 1990. This has largely been blamed on doctors being more cautious and keener to intervene if the labour is slow as well as a reluctance among women to go through birth without medication.