More than half of maternity units in England fail consistently to meet safety standards, BBC analysis of official statistics shows.
Health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rates 7% of units as posing a high risk of avoidable harm. A further 48% require improvement.
The figures are slightly worse than a few years ago, despite several attempts to transform maternity care.
The regulator says the pace of improvement has been disappointing.
In most cases, pregnancy and birth are a positive and safe experience for women and their families, says the CQC. But when things