Number of C-sections in Sligo being monitored
The rate of caesarean sections at Sligo Regional Hospital is monitored on a weekly basis according to the HSE.
Figures have revealed the hospital has the lowest C-section rate in the country at 19.13%.
The HSE said Sligo Regional provides excellent quality of obstetric and midwifery care. A spokeswoman said: "The ethos that shapes clinical practice is to place the health of the mother and child at the centre of the care process.
"In recognition of this there are strong governance arrangements in place which involve dedicated weekly multidisciplinary risk-assessment meetings.
"A consistent focus of these meetings is the rate of C-section within the hospital. This risk monitoring process enables the rate of C-sections to be tracked and monitored."
In Ireland, the C-section rate rose from 13% in 1999 to 26.2% in 2007, according to the National Perinatal Reporting System. The World Health Organisation recommends a rate of between 10% and 15%.
In the United States, the C-section rate rose from 20.7% of all births in 1996 to 31.1% in 2006.
Similar increases in the number of C-sections have been reported in other developed countries.
The HSE says caesarean birth, in many instances, is beneficial and potentially life-saving for either mother or child.
"In some circumstances, however, it may increase risk and be potentially life-threatening.
"The art of obstetric care is getting the balance right," added the spokeswoman.