45,297 children were born in Finland in 2019, which is 4% less than in 2018, according to preliminary data from the National Institute for Health and Service (THL).
The health agency collects data of all births in Finland, while Statistics Finland's population statistics only include figures of those children born alive and registered as permanent residents.
According to THL, in 2019 there were 23 maternity hospitals in Finland. On average, each one had 1,887 births. However, six hospitals had less than a thousand births a year, which is the limit set by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) in 2015 for obstetrics.
No maternity hospitals were closed down last year.
The figures show that over a third of children in Finland were born in one of HUS's hospitals (in Helsinki, Hyvinkää and Lohja) and 28% per cent in Helsinki Women's Hospital (Naistenklinikka) and Jorvi Hospital. The highest number of births was at the Women's hospital, almost 8,500 births (19% of all).
The smallest numbers were recorded at in Mariehamn, in the Åland archipelago (252 births); in Kemi, in West Ostrobothnia (422 births) and in Kajaani, in Kainuu (567 births).
The number of births decreased in 2019 in most hospitals, but increased slightly in Jorvi Hospital, Oulu University Hospital, Lapland Central Hospital, Central Ostrobothnia Central Hospital, Kainuu Central Hospital and Lohja Hospital.
Caesarean sections growing
The Women's hospital of Helsinki also had the largest number of first-time mothers, approximately one out of two was a first-time mothers (49%). The lowest number of first-time mothers was in Central Ostrobothnia Hospital (31%).
According to THL, the share of caesarean section of all births continued to grow in 2019 (to 17.4%, from 16.8% in 2018).
The growth was higher in hospitals with less than a thousand deliveries (15.4% –16.8%) and university hospitals (16.6% –17.4%) than in central and regional hospitals with more than a thousand deliveries (17.3% –17.6%) .
The oldest birth attendants were at the Women's Hospital and the youngest birth attendants were at the Central Hospital in Kokkola.