Irish maternity wards are under severe pressure as large volumes of women are delivering babies which were conceived during last year's snowy conditions.

Snow babies, is the term which has been given to babies conceived during last years cold snap which left thousands of people stranded in their homes during the Christmas holiday period.

This current baby boom means that women are giving birth in cramped conditions around the country as maternity wards struggle to deal with the increasing numbers of births.

Jene Kelly, founder of the Association for the Improvements in the Maternity Services, said that overcrowding issues in hospitals around Ireland is having an impact on pregnant women who are “being pushed through the system”.

"There are now record levels of births as we are going through a baby boom," she told the Evening Herald.

"There are on average, 9,000 births per year in each of the maternity hospitals -- that reaches over 20,000 in Dublin alone.

Ms Kelly, who is a mother of four, said there is a demand for increased numbers of maternity staff to deal with the boom.

"With the recruitment embargo, there is little hope that this has improved," she said.

"I spoke to one woman who gave birth in the bathroom. She felt she wasn't being listened to about her symptoms. She went to the bathroom and realized she was in labor and I believe she delivered before the midwife came out."

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization (INMO) said that overcrowding has reached “crisis point”.

Last week the INMO noted that seven pregnant women had to be catered for on trolleys in corridors in St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny, as there were no available beds.

"Midwives and nurses on the unit were stretched to the limit as they worked flat out to provide a safe level of care to the increased number of patients in their care," said Lorraine Monaghan, Industrial Relations Officer with INMO.

Newborn baby