Home Birth

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    Hi everyone, I’m new to Mumstown and was looking for some info on Home birth in Ireland. I had my Son now 16 mths in Australia in a midwife lead unit and found it fantastic but am terrified of having a child here cause of all the story’s I’m hearing about hospitals. Can some one please help on any info on home birth in Limerick if its even possible..
    Thanks Sinead :|


    Hi Sinead,

    Welcome to Mumstown (and to Ireland!)

    Having a home birth in Ireland is quite easy actually. Here is what to do:

    Go to your GP and confirm your pregnancy as early as you can and tell him/her of your preference for a home birth.

    Contact the Home Birth Association of Ireland to see a list of homebirth midwives near you. Make some calls and book your midwife. She will probably set your first appt for around week 16.

    In the meantime, immediately after your GP confirms your pregnancy, make your booking appt with the hospital for as early as possible, around 12-13 weeks if you can. At that appt. ask for a copy of your notes to take home. (It is important to get this appointment early in your pregnancy because you will be weighed and your BMI calculated and this needs to be healthy for you to qualify for a home birth, so get this done before your bump really starts to grow, while your weight is around the same as at the start of your pregnancy).

    Call the HSE and tell them about your plan for a home birth and ask for a home birth grant application form. When you get this, fill it in and when your midwife comes, she will need to sign it. Then send it back and wait for a letter confirming you have been approved. This only takes a few weeks and is quite straightforward, your midwife can help you with it if necessary.

    The HSE grant for home births is 2,400 euros. This covers the full fee for some homebirth midwives (like my one) but in some cases you may need to pay a few hundred euros in addition to this fee. This is something to confirm with your midwife.

    You will have all your visits at home, every 4 weeks from weeks 16-28, every 2 weeks from weeks 28-36 and every week from weeks 36-40.

    Your midwife will be with you for your birth and then, will visit you at homeregularly in the days & weeks after your birth to check all is ok with you and baby.

    After we had our last baby at home, almost 4 years ago, our midwife changed the bed, put the washing machine on, bathed me and tucked me up in bed with my new baby after the birth. She then went home for a few hours and came back that evening to check on us.

    I have had 2 babies in hospital here and in comparison, my home birth was marvellous. I felt so cared for and well looked after, it was wonderful.

    It made sense for us to opt for another home birth this time around,as it was such a fantastic experience.

    Hope thats been helpful, if you need any further information please ask, very happy to help.

    Good luck!!


    Thank you so much your reply has been very helpful. I am originally from Ireland but Hubby is Australian so my little man was born their, The care i got was fist class and hubby was allowed stay every step of the way along with a Doula. But from what I’m hearing this is not the same in Ireland and hubby and i are convinced on home birth just have to convince my family!!! lol


    also check out tracy donegan she’s a doula here

    and also in olol hospital in drogheda they have a midwifery led unit, i had my son their in 2005….was fantastic…..

    congrats and best of luck…


    in relation to BMI what is the story with that?I was in for the mid wifery led unit in drogheda and got in by the skin of my teeth based on my bmi…I’m shocked to hear its the same story for a homebirth I’m 1 &1/2 stone heavier since my baby 9months ago and want to have another baby soon soo does that mean I will have to go on a diet before I concieve??I am in no way fat I’m 5ft 10” and 13 stone!Am freaked as I wanted a home birth for my next baby all going to plan!



    I think the weight issue is stricter in MLU than for home birth. I was refused into the MLU because of my weight on our last baby. The problem was, my first booking appt was late – I was 16.5 weeks pregnant by my booking appt because the hospital was so busy – so that was first time I got weighed and of course, I had gained some weight but they did not take my pregnancy weight gain in to consideration at all. I had a huge debate with the head midwife about this – I am size 12, very healthy, not a skinny minnie but certainly not obese, as they classed me to be!

    I tried to reason with them that if i had been weighed before 12 weeks, I would have been fine but they would not hear of it. They simply turned me down flat. It was very upsetting at the time but it drove me towards home birth and in the end, definitely worked out for the best for us. (Its ironic that our home birth choice was born out of the way we were treated at our hospitals!)

    Thankfully on our last baby my weight was ok for a home birth. I think the BMI has to be under 31 for MLU but between 31-34 for home birth is ok. My home birth midwife said not to worry about it on this pregnancy but I was a bit stressed wondering if it would affect me again this time when we opted for another home birth; we all know the HSE are not the most flexible bunch!

    On this pregnancy I rang the hospital repeatedly to get an early booking appointment to avoid what happened last time. I had to call 4 times (they were busy apparently) but I got my appt for 13 weeks and at that stage, my BMI was ok. I had to be really pushy to get that appt but I was determined not to go through the same nonsense as last time.

    I understand there need to be guidelines for the safety of women birthing at home but this BMI stipulation is a muddy issue, if the hospital is too busy to see you early in your pregnancy, you can suffer by not being allowed a home birth or in to MLU due to weight gain. It is another flaw in our system but once you know about it, you can work around it.

    I thinkyou have to be really pushy whenit comes to having a baby in Ireland to get what you want. It should not be like this but such is our health service!!

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