The six maternal deaths recorded in the three main maternity hospitals in Dublin in 2011 made it one of the worst years for these tragedies.
There were three deaths at the Rotunda, two in Holles Street and one in the Coombe during the year.
One of the fatalities was a direct maternal death in the Rotunda as previously reported in the Irish Independent. The woman (32), who could not speak English, died of cardiac arrest after suffering a severe haemorrhage.
The other women died from other causes such as cancer, epilepsy, liver failure and sudden adult death syndrome. The woman who died in the Coombe hospital suffered a sudden death due to epilepsy. In 2010, there were four deaths recorded while in previous years the numbers ranged from zero to three.
The issue of maternal death has come under renewed focus following the death of Savita Halappanavar (pictured) in University College Hospital in Galway in late October. Savita (31), whose death is the subject of two inquiries, suffered a miscarriage and died from septicaemia.
CSO figures for maternal death show a rate of four per 100,000 births.
However, the real figure is twice that rate based on a more comprehensive list of direct and indirect deaths drawn up by Maternal Death Enquiry – MDE Ireland.