Less than 1% of births in Ireland are ‘perfect', a new study has found.
According to the researchers involved, because of the increasing influence of social media, women may potentially feel pressure to have a 'perfect' birth. They decided to look into this further.
They calculated the percentage of ‘practically perfect' births in women who had never given birth before in the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) in Holles Street over the two-year period, 2014-2015.
A ‘practically perfect' birth was defined as a spontaneous labour that required no intervention, an intact perineum (no stitches required) and a healthy baby.
The study found that of the 18,698 births recorded during the study period, just 0.8% fit into the ‘perfect' category.
Interventions included induction, artificial rupture of membranes in labour (breaking the waters), the use of oxytocin and caesarean sections.
The rate of ‘perfect' births was slightly higher among women who had opted for community midwife care compared to those who had opted for standard obstetric care.
The researchers noted that managing women's expectations of labour and delivery can be challenging for midwives and doctors, particularly if women feel under pressure as a result of social media.
They concluded by asking whether this information would evoke fear of labour in first-time mothers ‘or provide realistic expectations'.
The researchers were from the NMH, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Beaumont Hospital and St Vincent's University Hospital. Details of their findings are published in the Irish Medical Journal.