Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists welcomes WHO endorsement of Irish Obstetrician’s system for classifying caesarean sections

A system developed by Irish Obstetrician Dr Michael Robson for classifying caesarean sections has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation

The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland welcomes a statement today by the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsing a system developed by Irish Obstetrician Dr Michael Robson for classifying caesarean sections.

Dr Robson, a Consultant Obstetrician/ Gynaecologist and former Master of the National Maternity Hospital, developed a system which classifies all women admitted for delivery into one of 10 groups based on characteristics that are easily identifiable, such as number of previous pregnancies, previous caesarian sections, number of weeks of pregnancy, number of babies and how labour started. The adoption of these criteria would facilitate the collection of standardised data internationally. The WHO proposes the Robson Classification system as a global standard for assessing, monitoring and comparing caesarian section rates among specific groups of woman within hospitals over time, and between hospitals in different regions and jurisdictions.

Welcoming the announcement, Dr Sharon Cooley, Consultant Obstetrician/ Gynaecologist at the Rotunda, and spokesperson for the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said, “It is great to see an Irish Obstetrician leading the way in developing a classification system which could be used internationally to improve the quality of care for mothers and babies. The use of the Robson Classification allows us to understand the role played by each group of women in the increase in caesarian section rates. It will also help healthcare professionals working in maternity units to identify the mothers that are more likely to require a caesarian section and the management of their labour would be informed by that."

Dr Robson, who is a member of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, added, “What is unique about this classification system is that although first popularised by comparing caesarean section rates, it can and should be used for comparison of all perinatal events and outcomes. This would allow delivery units and researchers to investigate the relationship between multiple events and outcomes depending on the different processes involved.”

Media contact

Kate Healy


Communications Manager, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland


Direct Line 01 8639698 | Mobile 085 8722109| Email katehealy@rcpi.ie

Notes for the editor

The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is the professional and training body for obstetrics and gynaecology in Ireland and works to ensure the highest standards in the practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. The Institute was established in 1976 and is one of six faculties and institutes within the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.