Shocking figures show that one in two first-time mothers had their babies delivered by Caesarean Section at St Luke's Hospital last October.
The figures for the maternity services at St Luke's Hospital show that they have the highest rate of c-section births in the country.
The rate of Caesarean section among first-time mothers was 50% compared to a rate of 30% at Kerry General Hospital.
In Kilkenny the rate was 39.2% among women who had at least one previous pregnancy. Concerns have been raised in relation to the figures, which were published on the HSE website by Aims Ireland. a voluntary group which promotes normal birth.
112 babies were born at St Luke's Hospital in October and 1333 babies were born there in 2016.
A spokeswoman for AIMS Ireland said the group was 'extremely worried' about the rate of Caesarean Section at the hospital.
“We are extremely worried to find that the latest c- birth rate for St Luke's hospital was so high, and differed by as much as 10% from the rates in other Irish Maternity Units.
“C-sections carry significant increased risks for mother and baby, and prospective parents should be informed as to what these risks are,” said Chair of Aims Ireland, Krysia Lynch.
In 2012 Aims Ireland highlighted a significant disparity in C-Section rates between St Luke's and other Irish maternity units.
“We were assured that an inquiry would take place and the results would be published. We are very disappointed and alarmed to see the disparity persist and also the lack of any report outlining the medical rationale behind it."
"The first time mother rate was worrying as a previous c-sections can predispose mothers to repeat c-births. Of equal concern is the high multiparous (women who have had a previous pregnancy) rate. This indicates that mothers with previous c-sections are not being offered a trial of labour."
Aims Ireland believe women should be informed of the many options available to them on subsequent births following a c-section. Options include a repeat c birth, a trial of labour with the aim of a Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC) or a Home Birth After Caesarean (HBAC). Aims Ireland is organising a free information day on post c-birth options for parents in Trinity College on February 2. For more see www.aimsireland.ie
The figures were obtained from the Maternity Patient Safety Statement.
The recommended Caesarean Section rate as indicated by the World Health Organisation is between 10% and 15%.