Perinatal Statistics Report 2008

Media release for the "Perinatal Statistics Report 2008", by the Health Research and Information Division, The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESR), Dublin.

21 December 2010


Perinatal Statistics Report 2008

Health Research and Information Division, The Economic & Social Research Institute This report presents information reported to the National Perinatal Reporting System (NPRS) on pregnancy outcomes, together with descriptive social and biological characteristics of all mothers giving birth and babies born in Ireland in 2008. Some of the main findings of the 2008 report are:

  • 75,587 births were notified to the NPRS in 2008. This represents an increase of 5% in births between 2007 and 2008.
  • The birth rate of 17.0 per 1,000 population represents the highest birth rate of any of the 27 EU countries in 2008.
  • The twinning rate for 2008 was 17.9 per 1,000 maternities. Multiple births included 1,287 sets of twins, 30 sets of triplets and 1 set of quadruplets.
  • The perinatal mortality rate was 6.8 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2008. The perinatal mortality rate was 6.5 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths for singleton births and 16.8 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths for multiple births in 2008.
  • The average birth weight of babies born in 2008 was 3,464g. Low birthweight babies (weighing less than 2,500g) represented 5% of all births in 2008, which is unchanged since 1999.
  • Over 44% of babies were reported to be breastfed at discharge from hospital, this compares to 36% in 1999.
  • The average age of women giving birth has increased from 30.1 years in 1999 to 31.1 years in 2008.
  • Almost 26% of women delivered by caesarean section.
  • Over 26% of women giving birth were aged 35 years or older, up from 21% for this age group in 1999; 3.2% of women giving birth were aged 19 years or less, compared to 6.2 % in 1999.
  • Of all women giving birth in 2008, 42% gave birth for the first time, with an average age of 28.9 years for first time mothers.
  • Of all first deliveries, 31% were to women aged 30-34 years.
  • Over 1 in 5 births in 2008 were to mothers born outside Ireland.
  • There were 158 home births attended by independent domiciliary midwives in 2008 compared with 186 in 2007.
  • In 2008 30% of early neonatal deaths underwent post-mortem examination.

Notes for Editors: 1. For additional contact on this report, Professor Michael Turner, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology may be contacted on (01) 4085760. 2. In 2008, 20 maternity hospitals/units and 14 independent midwives in Ireland reported to NPRS. 3. The National Perinatal Reporting System has as its principal aim the provision of national statistics on perinatal events. The ESRI has been responsible for managing, and reporting on, the NPRS on behalf of the Department of Health and Children and the Health Service Executive since 1999. 4. The current and previous NPRS Annual Reports are available at:

Link to publication details