Just one-in-263 pregnancies has severe difficulties
ONE in every 263 pregnant women in Ireland has suffered severe complications during their pregnancy or after the birth, a new study reveals.
The study, carried out by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre in Cork in 2011, also found the rate of still births or death of the foetus among women with complications was close to 33 out of every 1,000 births.
This compared with 6.6 out of every 1,000 births without maternal complications.
Women from ethnic minorities had a greater rate of complications than the general population, according to the study conducted through University College Cork's Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
The most common complication was heavy bleeding in the womb or obstetric haemorrhage at a rate of 2.3 cases per 1,000 pregnancies, followed by renal and liver dysfunction and peripartum hysterectomy.
Of those with complications 57pc were diagnosed with one severe complication, while close to a third, or 32.3pc, were diagnosed with two serious complications. Only a small proportion was diagnosed with three or four complications.
The study, which is the first national audit of maternal illness during pregnancy, collected anonymous data on pregnancies from 19 of the 20 maternity units around the country.
The data compared the number of births, both live and stillbirths, among 67,806 preg- nancies at maternity units which dealt with 93pc of pregnancies.
NPEC director Prof Richard Greene said the audit illustrated the high quality of care at maternity units here.
The Health Service Executive also praised the findings.