National Home Birth Services

Home birth can be a safe option for low risk healthy women. Research shows that a planned home birth is an acceptable and safe alternative to a planned hospital birth for some pregnant women. 

Women may wish to have a home birth because they

  • want to feel more in control
  • feel safer at home
  • want to avoid intervention
  • dislike being in hospital
  • don’t want to be separated from older children.

 The expectant mother in consultation with her midwife and other Medical advisors of her choice will decide whether home birth is a safe option for her and her baby.

Currently in Ireland there is a National Domiciliary Midwifery service available to eligible expectant mothers (Eligibility criteria for the HSE Home Birth Service is available here) who wish to avail of a home birth service under the care of a self employed community midwife (SECM) (list of SECM names and contact details, Appendix 2). This service is provided by the SECM on behalf of the HSE who signs the Agreement with the Health Services Executive (HSE).

HSE Home Birth Information Leaflet

Medical Malpractice Indemnity

Click here for the Clinical Indemnity Scheme for Self Employed Community Midwives (Appendix 3)

Applying to the HSE for a Home Birth Service

Since September 2008 the HSE no longer pays a grant to the expectant mother, but now pays the SECM directly for the home birth service provided as outlined in the Agreement. The Home Birth Service provided by the HSE therefore is free of charge to the mother. The service extends from the date the application form has been approved by the HSE until the child is aged 14 days of age only. The midwife’s indemnity insurance cover and payment by the HSE for services provided under the terms of the Home Birth Service, is confined to this period.

The pathway of care is outlined in Appendix 4.

As per the National Guidelines for Home Births you are advised to register with a GP for the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme and to book at a Maternity Hospital of your choice. Some maternity hospitals have a home birth liaison consultants & it would be a matter for your GP to make the appropriate arrangements. Risk assessment is an ongoing process throughout pregnancy and should circumstances arise contraindicating a home confinement you may be told that your eligibility for this service has ceased and that, in your own and your unborn infant’s best interests, you are advised to transfer to hospital based care.

Private Home Birth Agreements

Should an expectant mother and her nominated SECM proceed with a Home Birth outside the terms of the Agreement or without applying to the HSE for domiciliary midwifery services, then this midwife will not have the benefit and protection of CIS cover in respect of any subsequent medical malpractice claim or inquest.

Therefore if an expectant mother enters into a private arrangement with an SECM for a home birth it is the responsibility of the midwife to have alternative insurance cover and the expectant mother should satisfy herself that alternative insurance cover is in place.


 

Appendix 4

Pathway of Care

  • When the expectant mother contacts HSE, Local Health Office, enquiring about having a home birth, she is put through to the Designated Official who is a suitable qualified midwifery professional.
  • Information package sent to the expectant mother including information sheet informing her of the possible risks involved and the reasons that may require a transfer to hospital care.
  • The expectant mother contacts the self employed community midwife. The expectant mother and self employed midwife discuss criteria for Home Births and agree regarding the safety of a home birth.
  • The Self employed community midwife having regard to “Risk factors that identify those women who may be at risk for a home Birth” as per appended tables one to five, considers whether the expectant mother is a suitable candidate for a Home Birth and if satisfied undertakes to provide midwifery services for a Home Birth on his/her own professional judgement and responsibility. Tables 1 and 2 would render an applicant too great a risk for inclusion in a home birth service. With regard to tables 3 and 4 it is considered that where the specified factors exist a woman should only be included in a home birth service following assessment by a consultant obstetrician who would advise on the suitability of a home birth in the particular case.
  • The Self employed community midwife must advise the expectant mother to
  • Register for antenatal services with a maternity hospital.
  • Be registered or register with a GP.
  • Avail of the Maternity and infant care scheme.
  • The Midwife will be the prime carer for the mother and child up to the age of 14 days
  • An application form for services under the scheme is completed by mother and midwife and transmitted to the Designated official who will assess eligibility for the service.
  • On acceptance of the application the Designated Official writes to:

1. Director of Public Health Nursing

2. Local Public Health Nurse

3. Expectant mothers GP,-indicating that his/her patient intends to be confined at home and that the HSE will provide a Birth Pack (see letter no 1)

4. Administration Dept of the HSE, LHO Office informing them about the forthcoming homebirth, the expected date of confinement and any significant details about the client.

5. The expectant mother, confirming receipt of her application, informing her how to contact her local PHN and arrangements for provision of a Home Birth Pack. (see letter no 2)

  • Directions to the home of all planned Home Births are sent in advance to Ambulance Control using “Ambulance Standard Procedures” as appended, so as to expedite transfer to hospital in the event of an emergency.
  • Following the birth the midwife informs the hospital, GP and ambulance control of the outcome; and the mother/midwife make appropriate arrangements for routine medical examination of the new born.
  • Neonatal Metabolic Screening is carried out by the Midwife
  • With Rh negative mothers, maternal and cord blood taken by midwife and delivered to the Blood Bank. Anti D given within 72 hrs if required
  • Mother and Baby discharged to care of the PHN at 14 days.

On completion of the service Midwifery notes are sent to the Designated Official together with a request for payment. Designated Official reviews notes, copies same and arranges payment through administration. Details from notes are transferred to database for statistics and Notes returned to SECM.

 

If you would like further information on the homebirth service you can contact a Designated Midwife Officer in your HSE geographical area:

Name Area Email Address Phone Number
Jo Delaney
& Denise Malone
Cork/Kerry

HomeBirth.South@hse.ie

Cork and Kerry Home Birth Website

021 4923483

087 6313457

0872889499

Janet Murphy Waterford janet.murphy1@hse.ie 051 848340
087 9243538
Michelle Waldron Carlow
Kilkenny
South Tipperary
michelle.waldron@hse.ie 087 7585024
Margaret Hanahoe Dublin Mid
Leinster
Margaret.hanahoe@hse.ie 086 4107217
Ann O'Byrne Dublin North City, Dublin North homebirth.dne@hse.ie 01 846 7159
087 945 7094
Carmel Cronolly McFadden Galway, Mayo Roscommon
Clare, Limerick, North Tipperary
carmel.cronolly2@hse.ie 087 9707382

 

The temporary suspension of the home birth service in the Midwest remains in effect pending the outcome of an external review

Appendix 2

Please see below a list of contact details for Self Employed Community Midwives who have signed the Agreement with HSE

Name Address Phone Number email Address
Ms. Niamh Bates Dublin 13 086 1556115 Nobates@gmail.com
Ms. Ruth Banks Co. Dublin 087133 3476 ruth.keane@hotmail.com
Ms. Brenda Campion O’Toole Co. Laois 086 8328859 bcampionotoole@gmail.com
Ms. Helen Coe Co. Tipperary 085 7666276 Helencoe.midwife@gmail.com
Ms. Ellmarie Coleman Co. Cork 087 9878149 ellecoleman79@hotmail.com
Ms. Rebecca Colohan Co. Galway 087 2135852 rebeccapower2004@gmail.com
Ms. Caroline Corcoran Co Cork 089 256 6198 carolinec.home@gmail.com
Ms. Carolyn Coughlan

Co. Wicklow

086 3583245 coughlca@tcd.ie
Ms. Angela Cotter Co. Westmeath 086 8853577 ange.cotter@gmail.com
Ms. Mary Cronin Co. Cork 087 2796325 marycronin808@gmail.com
Ms. Aisling Dixon Co. Roscommon 087 7641447 aislingdixon@hotmail.com
Ms. Colette Donnelly Dublin 9 Mobile: 086-1940812
Landline: 01-8367124
colettedonnelly62@hotmail.com
Ms. Elke Hasner Co. Cork Mobile: 087 2525771
Landline: 026 46312
elkehasner@gmail.com
Ms. Kirsty Hawthorn Co. Kerry 085 7722004 kirstyahawthorn@gmail.com
Ms. Sandra Healy  Co Tipperary 086 941 8294 sandrac.healy@hse.ie
Ms. Aine Hennessy Co. Kildare 085 729 7529 ahennessy1990@gmail.com
Ms. Sarah McCann Dublin City & County 087 962 5544 Sarah@birthlogic.ie
Ms. Ali Murphy Co. Dublin 087 2223100 alisonmurphy74@gmail.com
Ms. Sinead Murphy Co. Kerry 087 2514939 sineadmidwife@hotmail.com
Ms. Deirdre O'Leary Vos West Cork 083 8669209 info@westcorkmidwiferycare.ie
Ms. Nanni Schleunz Co Dublin 086 3311531 nannisch@me.com
Vanessa Joyce Kinvara, Co. Galway 086 8163555 vmjoyce@hotmail.com
Darry Reed Ballybrack, Co Dublin 087 4129409 Darryreed@hotmail.com

 This page was last updated on August 23, 2022