This report presents information on pregnancy outcomes, together with descriptive social and biological characteristics of mothers giving birth and babies born in Ireland in 2004. In 2004, 62,406 births were notified to the National Perinatal Reporting System. The birth rate for 2004 is estimated at 15.3 per 1,000 population, an overall increase of 6% in the birth rate of 14.5 per 1,000 population reported in 2000. Over the five year period 2000-2004, the Perinatal Mortality Rate has decreased by 0.7 per 1,000 live and still births, the Early Neonatal Death Rate has decreased by 0.5 per 1,000 live births, and the Stillbirth Rate has decreased by 0.2 per 1,000 stillbirths. Delivery by Caesarean Section accounts for 25 per cent of all live births, compared to 21 per cent in 2000. The average birthweight of babies born in 2004 is estimated at 3,477g. The Twinning Rate for 2004 is estimated at 15.0 per 1,000 maternities, as there were 924 twin births, 18 triplet births and 1 set of Quadruplets. In 2004, single mothers accounted for just over 30 per cent of all women giving birth. The average age of single mothers in 2004 was just over 26 years. The trend in the breastfeeding rate continues to be upward at 43 per cent in 2004 compared to 38 per cent in 2000. There were 202 home births attended by independent domiciliary midwives in 2004 compared with 216 such births in 2000.
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