MORE than 1,400 babies were born in the Braintree district in the year the coronavirus pandemic shook the world, figures show.

There were 1,404 live births in the district in 2020 – 198 fewer than the year before, Office for National Statistics data shows .

It meant the fertility rate was 1.6 births per woman, lower than 1.8 in 2019.

This was broadly in line with the rate of 1.58 across England and Wales last year – the lowest since records began in 1938.

The Royal College of Midwives said maternity staff had made “enormous efforts” to keep as many services running as possible, but added they were already under pressure before the pandemic.

Restrictions included limitations on visiting and the amount of time partners were allowed with new mums at birth, limited choice on where to give birth and fewer face-to-face appointments.

Different figures show that of the babies born in the Braintree district in 2020, 205 (14.6 per cent) had at least one non-UK parent, with 99 (7.1 per cent) having both parents born outside the UK.