Although the work reported here began at health district level, even a casual perusal of published statistics reveals a quite bizarre situation when viewed from a manpower planning perspective. The quite considerable effort involved in producing state-certified midwives seems, on the surface at least, to be excessive given the number gainfully employed in that profession. The national situation with respect to trends in the birth rate is examined and a somewhat surprising seasonal effect identified. This material is then used to estimate the likely situation to be encountered at local level and in particular the effect at different levels of bed provision. In an attempt to translate these estimated births into workload figures recourse was made to regression analysis. Data from 417 maternity units relating both to outputs and inputs were secured, but the subsequent analysis proved abortive due to the high correlation which exists between the variables. Estimates were therefore derived from the work of other authors.