Perinatal mortality refers to the death of babies in the weeks before or after birth. Perinatal mortality includes stillbirths (babies born with no signs of life after 24 weeks of pregnancy or weighing at least 500 grams) and the deaths of babies within 28 days of being born. Perinatal mortality is an important indicator of the quality of obstetric and neonatal care. Measurement of the outcome of care is central to the development of safe and high quality healthcare services. In recent years, the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre (NPEC) has worked with colleagues in developing an in-depth clinical audit of perinatal mortality.
In Ireland today 0.2% of births occur at home. This rate is slightly lower than the home birth rate in the United States of America (0.7%), much lower than England (2.2%) and Wales (3.1%)and significantly lower than the Netherlands where almost one quarter of births are reported to be in the home. The HSE provides planned home birth services to families choosing this model of maternity care predominantly in association with Self Employed Community Midwives (SECMs), along with three hospital-based services in Cork University Maternity Hospital, Waterford Regional Hospital and the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin.
The Planned Home Births in Ireland Annual Report 2013 report published by the Health Service Executive in collaboration with the National Perintal Epidemiology Centre is to present an overview and national statistics on the home births service provided by SECMs in the Republic of Ireland for the year 2013. The report audits the home birth service by examining both the maternal and fetal outcomes of planned home births, including outcomes whereby the care of the woman is transferred for hospital care antenatally, during labour or postnatally.
Severe maternal morbidity has become an important quality indicator of obstetric care and maternal welfare in developed countries over the last decade. Historically, maternal mortality was used as a measure of quality of care in maternity services, but fortunately, it is now very low in high-resourced countries and is not sufficient to be used alone as a quality indicator.
The term maternal morbidity encompasses the range of chronic and acute conditions which may result in obstetric complications during labour, delivery and the puerperium. However, there is an absence of international consensus on definitions of severe maternal morbidity, which impedes comparative analysis between similarly resourced countrie
It also reports on findings from the first national audit of critical care in obstetrics in Ireland. Fifteen of the 19 Irish maternity units contributed to the critical care in obstetric audit in 2014, including two large tertiary referral maternity units and thirteen smaller maternity units.
- NPEC Annual Report 2013
- NPEC Annual Report 2012
- NPEC Annual Report 2011 (5,077kB)
- Erratum NPEC Annual Report 2011(451kB)
Classification of Cause of Death (Page 18)
- NPEC Annual Report 2010
Distribution of Cause of Death in Neonates, Wigglesworth Classification, 2009 (Page 13, Figure 6)
The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is the professional body which speaks on behalf of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. It was incorporated in The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in 1976.
The Institute is a member of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and is represented on the Council of the European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (EBCOG).
Professor Richard Greene, Director, NPEC
Dr. B.P. Murphy, Consultant Neonatologist, Cork University Maternity Hospital