Monday 23 September 2019

Scandal of pregnant homeless women slammed

Dr. Sam Coulter-Smith, Master of the Rotunda Hospital
Dr. Sam Coulter-Smith, Master of the Rotunda Hospital
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The scandal of pregnant women becoming homeless has been condemned by social workers in the Rotunda maternity hospital.

The women are facing the difficulty of trying to get children to school, feed a family in a hotel room and prepare for the birth of a new baby, the hospital's annual report warned.

They pointed out that those who succeed in getting accommodation far from their communities, family and friends run the risk of being without supports if they develop postnatal depression.

"This can have a negative impact on them at a sensitive time," they cautioned.

Meanwhile, one in six of the 8,787 women who gave birth in the Rotunda maternity hospital reported a history of some form of mental illness.

The highest number had depression which needed treatment while other illnesses included anxiety and post-natal depression, according to the hospital's annual report.

The Rotunda had two maternal deaths during the year which were unrelated to the care they received in the hospital.

In one case, a woman took her own life six months after her baby died in the womb.

The other tragedy involved a woman who gave birth to a baby who died in intensive care due to malformed kidneys.

The mother returned to the hospital 16 days later feeling unwell, and died of a brain tumour in the Mater.

One in three of the babies born at the hospital last year was born by caesarean section.

The report noted the death rate for babies was 4.4 per 1,000, in line with recent years.

There were 569 births to women over the age of 40 years.

Writing in the report, Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, whose term as master ends in December, said it was another difficulty year for maternity services in Ireland.

Irish Independent

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