19 stillbirths at 'overcrowded' hospital in one year - FOI
Nineteen babies at the maternity unit of a hospital where nurses have threatened to strike because of overcrowding were stillborn in one year, new figures obtained by the Sunday Independent reveal.
The Midlands Regional Hospital, Mullingar, accounted for the highest percentage of stillbirths in any maternity unit in the country, according to the figures released under the Freedom of Information Act. A total of 19 babies were stillborn at the unit in 2013, which represents 0.8pc of the total 2,460 babies born at the hospital - a higher average than any recorded at all of the country's maternity units.
The Mullingar maternity unit was followed by Galway University Hospital, where 16 of the 3,139 babies (0.5pc of total) born in the same year were stillbirths.
The country's busiest maternity unit, at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin's Holles Street, also ranked among the highest number of stillbirths. Some 39 of the 8,953 - or 0.4pc - births at the hospital were stillborn.
Despite the controversy surrounding cutbacks in Border region maternity services, some of the lowest rates of stillbirths in the country were recorded in the Cavan/Monaghan Hospital Group, with stillbirths accounting for just five - or 0.26pc - of its 1,913 deliveries.
This was followed by Waterford Regional, where just 0.27pc of births were stillborn.
In a sign of the increasing numbers of women who are having babies at an older age, the HSE figures confirmed that more than one-in-20 births (5.8pc) in 2013 were to mothers aged 40 or over.
Over 36pc of the total births were to mothers aged between 30 and 34.
Other figures released under Freedom of Information also confirm the rise in the numbers of mother giving birth by Caesarean section in Irish hospitals. More than one-third of all births (36pc) at St Luke's General Hospital in Kilkenny in 2013 were done by Caesarean section. Some 33pc of mothers who gave birth at Mayo General Hospital opted for Caesarean section, followed closely by Galway University Hospital with 32pc.
Caesarean deliveries were least popular among mothers who attended Sligo General Hospital (22pc). This was followed by Wexford County Hospital and Holles Street, where 24pc of mothers gave birth by Caesarean section.