The maternity department in Midlands Regional Hospital, Mullingar has one of the highest rates of episiotomies in the country.
That’s according to figures obtained by the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS) Ireland from the HSE. The procedure, which is a surgical cut cut to the area between a woman’s vagina and back passage, was performed on more than a third (35.5%) of first time mothers in 2012 and on 11% of mothers who have given birth more than once.
Overall, episiotomies were performed during 19.5% of all births in Mullingar, the fourth highest rate in the country behind the National Maternity Hospital (22.65%), Cork University Hospital (20.89%) and University College Hospital Galway (19.67%).
The birth statisitics, which were obtained by AIMS under the the Freedom of Information Act, also reveal that the percentage of births delivered by caesarean section in Mullingar rose from 27.45% in 2011 to 30.39% in 2012.
The C-section rate for first time mothers in Mullingar was 32.84%, while the rate for mothers who had more than one birth was 29.08%. St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny (37.97%) had the highest rate of C-sections in the country, followed by Castlebar County Hospital (31.78%)
The “exclusive” breastfeeding rate in Mullingar hospital in 2012 was 45.2%. The Rotunda Hospital (57.2%) had the highest rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the country.
According to AIMS, who first published birth statistics for the country’s 19 HSE maternity wards last year, “this information is hugely important for women who are using Irish maternity services sho that they can make informed decisions when choosing where to have their babies”.