The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has branded the shortage of midwives in Ireland as unsafe for mothers and newborns.
The organisation is calling for an independent commission to be set up to address the staffing levels in maternity hospitals.
The call comes to mark the International Day of the Midwife.
General secretary of the INMO, Liam Doran, said that the problems encountered because of staff shortages are completely avoidable.
"We also believe it's incurring additional costs because midwife-led services are the preferred option for women who have problem-free pregnancy and so on," he said.
"We're not meeting that need at the moment, that's because we have a shortage of midwives, and we want this independently-chaired commission set up to identify the extent of the problem and certaintly put reccommendations to Government to have it solved on this International Day of the Midwife."