Giving birth is an intensely personal experience and women have different ideas about how they would like their baby to come into the world. There are two options for women considering a home birth, depending on where you live.
Home birth with a Self – Employed Community Midwife
Home birth is available to all women experiencing a low-risk pregnancy, however there are very few self-employed Community Midwives (SECMs) in Ireland. Home births are not considered safe if you are carrying twins, a baby in breech or transverse presentation, or have a serious medical condition such as placenta praevia or high blood pressure. SECMs are registered with the HSE but practice independently. They can provide full antenatal care by visiting you at home; during labour and delivery where they stay with you throughout; and postnatal care in your home up to and including a six-week check-up.
As soon as you know you are pregnant contact the Home Birth Association (www.homebirth.ie) for information on how to arrange a home birth and the names of midwives working in your area. The costs of Home Births can vary between €2,500 and €5,000.
Pain relief at home
Midwives carry gas and air (the entonox mask) and pethidine, and a Transcutaneous electrical nerve Stimulation (TenS) machine can also be hired from a pharmacy. You may hire a birthing pool if your midwife is trained in water birth, or labour in your own bath if they are not.