Baby boom still alive and well in the midlands
The number of babies born in 2010 is down slightly after recent boom years but some parts of the country are bucking the trend, latest figures show.
Cavan General Hospital is leading the way with a rise of 9.8pc in births to the end of July, followed by the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, where they are up 8.1pc.
Other hospitals seeing a boom in newborns include Sligo General (5.4pc), Longford/ Westmeath Regional Hospital (3.5pc) and Portlaoise Hospital (0.5pc).
There were 75,068 babies born here in 2008, while figures fell to 74,278 in 2009, according to the official statistics available.
The fall in births this year so far is still low, at one per cent, but July saw the largest number of babies born in a month so far this year, topping 6,395.
Areas of the country which have seen the biggest fall in births to date this year include Kerry General (-11.6pc), Letterkenny General (-8pc), Wexford General (-8.7pc), Limerick Regional (-6.4pc), Mayo General (4.6pc) and Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe (-4.5pc).
Other places experiencing a dip include Kilkenny, Waterford, the Coombe and the Rotunda in Dublin.
Meanwhile, the rate of caesarean section, where the baby is delivered by surgical means, climbed again to 26pc, although hospitals had managed to reduce it to 25pc in January of last year.
It was as high as 27pc in May this year -- still far off the Health Service Executive (HSE) rate of 20pc.
Doctors have been criticised for being too quick to do a caesarean section.
Some women have also been accused of going for planned caesarean sections in order to fit in with their lifestyle rather than letting nature take its course.
However, doctors insist that various factors outside of their control are leading to the continued high rate in this country, for example the level of obesity among mothers-to-be.
Other factors include women having babies at an older age and a rise in multiple births such as twins and triplets, due in part to more women having fertility treatment.
Although it is a common procedure, women are nonetheless warned that it is still major abdominal surgery and that they face associated risks such as infection of the wound, blood clot in the legs and excessive bleeding.