Report shows high numbers of Irish women having Caesarean births

HSE figures for 2012 show that many first time mothers in Irish hospitals have surgical interventions during childbirth.

The new data from 19 public maternity units was released on foot of a Freedom of Information request by the maternity choice group AIMS (Association for Improvement in the Maternity Service).

It shows that a high percentage of new mothers undergo assisted deliveries, episiotomies and caesarean sections - with 38% first time mothers in St. Lukes in Kilkenny delivering by C-Section.

All other hospitals reported figures of 21% – 31%, except for Sligo General, which has a Caesarean delivery rate of just 21.35%.

About half of deliveries in most hospitals relied on no instruments – such as forceps and vacuum assistance – at all.

AIMS claims there is a lack of support for women who are hoping to avoid intervention during child birth.

"We have very little midwifery-led care," said Krysia Lynch, a spokesperson for AIMS.

"We have two midwifery-led units… but the majority of women get consultant-led care. And that is very much geared to assuming that all women are high-risk, even though we know from the World Health Organisation that can't be true."

AIMS campaigns for "normal birth practices", which they define as "low-risk with little intervention" without need to intervene in the natural process.

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