Babies Israel news photo: Flash 90

A report on births in Israel in 2011 was published Thursday at the annual Israel Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology conference. The report was based on 160,257 recorded births in 2011, which made up 96.3% of births for the year.

The report found that use of the epidural painkiller during labor was up to 58%. Use of epidurals varied significantly from one hospital to the next, with some labor units reporting 12% use while others reported that 96% of patients chose the epidural.

Epidural use was up from 57.4% in 2010 and 53.4% in 2009. Professor Yaakov Bar of the Wolfson Medical Center said he believes the change is tied to changes in hospitals' ability to provide an anesthesiologist.

The number of twin births remained stable at 2.4%. Triplet births were down by 9.5%, with 63 sets of triplets born during the year.

Dr. Bar expressed hope that the number of both twin and triplet births would drop due to new regulations on the number of embryos transferred during fertility treatment. “From our perspective, a twin pregnancy is more problematic; it increases the risk for complications and premature delivery,” he explained.

The number of vacuum extraction deliveries was also up from previous years.

Nearly one-third of births in 2011, 30.3%, were of the mother’s first child. There was a 9% increase in the number of women giving birth who had six or more children; such women made up a total of 7.4% birthing mothers in 2011.

The hospital with the most births was Jerusalem’s Shaarei Tzedek Hospital, with 14,483 births for the year.

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