An inquest into the death of a 32-year-old woman at the Mater Hospital has begun in Dublin's District Coroner's Court.

Bimbo Onanuga, from Nigeria, died on 4 March 2010 in the hospital's intensive care unit.

Three days previously, at seven months pregnant, she had attended the Rotunda Hospital.

She was told that her child had died in the womb and was sent away.

Ms Onanuga returned to the Rotunda on 3 March in significant discomfort and was admitted.

The following day she was transferred to the Mater where she later died.

Dr Henry Frizelle, the consultant who received Ms Onanuga from the Rotunda, said she was profoundly ill on arrival at the Mater's intensive care unit.

She was losing blood and deeply unconscious.

He said she had suffered a cardiac arrest in the Rotunda and had been resuscitated.

However, she failed to respond to treatment, he said, and she passed away that evening.

Professor Conor O'Keane, who carried out the autopsy on Ms Onanuga's body, said she was at "double hit" risk.

He said this was due to the fact that her uterine lining was unnaturally thin in a particular area and that the pregnancy had implanted at this very same point.

Prof O'Keane said there was no doubt that this had been the point of rupture in the uterus.

He said that Ms Onanuga was an otherwise healthy young woman.

He said he had got a second opinion on his findings due to the unusual and serious nature of Ms Onanuga's death.

Ms Onanuga's lawyer raised concerns about the absence of the midwife who had last treated Ms Onanuga.

He said a medical certificate did not explain the reason for her inability to attend the court or when she might be able to.

He said he was reluctant to proceed and it was important that the midwife be cross-examined.

Dr Siobhan Corcoran, who was junior registrar at the Rotunda, said she met Ms Onanuga at 11.20am on 4 March.

She noted that Ms Onanuga had presented the day before with abdominal pains.

Ms Onanuga had been given a drug which was meant to induce labour in the event of a baby dying in the womb.

Dr Corcoran said tests carried out on her vital signs at 6.30am that morning by nursing staff showed they were stable.

Later tests that afternoon again showed her pulse, blood pressure and temperature were normal.

The inquest was adjourned with a return date of 5 July.