The head medical social worker at the National Maternity Hospital has said she is seeing a greater number of pregnant women who are homeless.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Kaylene Jackson said homeless pregnant women require a priority listing when it comes to finding adequate accommodation.

Emergency accommodation is generally unsuitable, she said, as it is too small with no cooking or washing facilities and it may have to be vacated during the day.

Ms Jackson added that very often, expectant mothers can find themselves living in very inappropriate accommodation, possibly sharing with a number of other people.

There is also a greater range of people presenting themselves with varying circumstances, she said.

For example, she said, a young woman on a low income who finds herself pregnant may be forced to leave her current accommodation and may not be able to afford somewhere suitable to live.

Ms Jackson said she is then classed as homeless.

She said there are also cases where women who are already sleeping rough find themselves pregnant.

A permanent address is needed in order to be able to avail of supports and benefits, she added.

There were more than 500 families and more than 1,000 children homeless in Dublin at the start of the summer.