Three maternal deaths recorded in hospitals last year
Three maternal deaths were recorded last year, including two in maternity units and one case in a general hospital.
A HSE report said the two women who died in maternity services had pre-existing medical conditions and their clinical care was shared by obstetric and other medical teams.
Although the pre-existing illnesses are not outlined, it is known that pregnant women who have conditions such as diabetes or asthma can be at risk.
There were two maternal deaths in 2016.
It said that in general the number of maternal deaths in Ireland remains relatively low.
"While lessons can be learned from the management of individual cases, maternal death in a single year is not considered a robust indicator of quality of clinical care in a maternity setting," a spokesperson said.
There were 60,744 births last year, down from 62,736 in 2016.
The number of births had continued to decline in recent years when compared with 2008 when 75,065 newborns were registered. The report said there were 310 perinatal deaths of infants at or around the time of birth. This compares with 357 the previous year.
This figure is not adjusted to include babies who had birth defects.
The report highlighted that there were 939 women with ectopic pregnancy and 12 with eclampsia.
Early signs of pre-eclampsia include having high blood pressure (hypertension).
Six women were found to have unintentionally retained swabs after vaginal delivery.
Around 24,000 women had an epidural.
There were 19,526 babies delivered by caesarean section, down from 20,163 the previous year.
It meant the caesarean section rate last year was still high at 38.7pc of births.
It highlighted also the higher rates of women having twins.
One of the smaller units in the country had three women deliver twins during the year.
In two of the larger maternity hospitals, there were 190 women in each who had multiple births.
Meanwhile, the HSE yesterday published the report of an inquiry into the care of Róisín Conroy at Portlaoise Hospital in 2001.
The HSE said it apologised for the significant failings in her care.
Ms Conroy has been left permanently disabled with dyskinetic cerebral palsy and can only communicate with her eyes while needing a wheelchair to get around.
The HSE acknowledged the consequent suffering and distress caused to Róisín and her parents.