Over 11,000 babies have been born in Irish hospitals since the arrival of COVID-19 here at the end of February, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said.
It carried out an analysis of the past 10 years of birth statistics between February 27 and May 5 and from this, it was able to estimate the number of babies born here since the arrival of the virus.
The INMO highlighted the figures to mark International Day of the Midwife (May 5). Currently in Ireland, there are 1,479 staff midwives working in the public health service.
"As COVID-19 puts pressure on our health service, midwives are there for mothers and babies, providing care, comfort, advocacy and advice.
"While much has been put on hold during the pandemic, childbirth has continued as normal. Today alone, midwives in Ireland will welcome over 150 new people to the world," commented INMO general secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha.
She said that the skill and dedication of midwives deserves recognition and support.
"Consistent understaffing has put midwifery under pressure, leaving overworked staff to pick up the slack. The next government must ensure that the promise of safe staffing in the National Maternity Strategy is upheld, and staffing numbers set by scientific safe levels," Ms Ni Sheaghdha added.
The busiest maternity hospitals in the State are the Rotunda Hospital, the Coombe, the National Maternity Hospital and Cork University Maternity Hospital.
According to Mary Brosnan, the director of midwifery and nursing at the National Maternity Hospital, supporting midwives is key.
"It has been a real privilege to be involved in reorganising the maternity service in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Words such as unprecedented and crisis have been used very frequently, but it's been such a rollercoaster in the last two months.
"At the National Maternity Hospital, we have managed to completely reorganise our maternity, gynaecology and neonatal services within days of the first case being highlighted at the end of February," she said.
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