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Details surrounding the HSE home birth service are available on https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/3/maternity/homebirth-services.html. Contact a SECM in your area, details available on this website to that referenced above, to discuss your choices and gain what information you may need to support your decision about your preferred care and place of birth. Make contact with the Designate Midwifery Officer (DMO) who has governance over your geographical area, who will furnish you with the necessary paperwork and information for discussion when meeting with your midwife.

DMOs are the HSE support for the homebirth service. Their role is to guide you through the service, support the SECMs, provide governance of the service for the HSE and be the link between all the stakeholders.

Name Location Email/Website Contact
Jo Delaney & Siobhan Sweeney Cork/Kerry Cork and Kerry Home Birth Website

021 4923483

087 2889499
Michelle Waldron Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary michelle.waldron@hse.ie 087 7585024
Anne Clarke Dublin, MidLeinster homebirth.dublinml@hse.ie 01 6201698

086 4107217
Ann O'Byrne Dublin North City, Dublin North homebirth.dne@hse.ie 01 846 7159

087 945 7094

SECMs provide care from early pregnancy to two weeks after birth to you and your baby, available on call by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visits may be in your home or a clinic provided by the midwife, this is individual to each SECM. Before, during and after birth, your midwife will liaise with any health professional if review or referral is required. It some instances, it may become necessary for your midwife to transfer your care to your obstetric team if there are concerns around the health of you or your baby. This should be in collaboration with yourself, respecting your input. Your midwife can be available to you to support you through this process of supported by the DMO. If your midwife has a student under her supervision, your midwife will ask for your permission to have the student present for your visits and your birth. Your midwife will spend time learning about you, your family, your hopes for the pregnancy and your medical history. Your primary midwife is mainly responsible for providing care for you during and after labour. A second midwife will all be in attendance for the birth, mainly responsible for your baby after the birth but also to support you and your SECM. Your midwife will provide all your necessary care and support in the postnatal period. S/he will also organise the necessary notifications to your G.P., hospital, PHN, birth registrar etc. Your midwife will provide care for you and your baby until two weeks after you give birth where care is handed over to your PHN and G.P.

The HSE pays the midwife for a defined service of ten visits, labour and birth care and limited mileage. This service is free, the details of which will be discussed with you and your midwife. The CMA acknowledges that for SECMs and for the second midwife in attendance this is a very limited payment that does not fully reflect the service and extended care options may incur a cost which should be discussed with you at the onset of care. This should not in any way affect your access to this service.

You are required to book into a hospital of your choice for bloods and assessment. Access to G.P. and obstetric care will be individualised, depending on the willingness and availability of these professionals. They will be informed of your intended place of birth by the DMO once approval has been granted for your prospective home birth. G.P.s are unable to provide this service to many women due to their insurance restriction and your SECM or your hospital of choice will need to cover your maternity care. Discussion around your individual needs will happen with your midwife regard frequency of visits, access to prescriptions, newborn checks, screening etc. and a plan will be put in place to prioritise the health and safety of you and your baby.

SECMs are covered for clinical indemnity insurance by the States Claims Agency through their contract with the HSE to provide care to women deemed low risk. Ongoing risk assessment determines access for the mother and SECM to this insurance. Each SECM, also, has public liability insurance.

Most SECMs provide an option for water birth service, discuss it with your individual midwife. There are circulating pools within the home birth community for loan or to be purchased. Your SECM does not have any responsibility for the provision of birth pools.

You may have whomever you like with you to support you during your labour and birth. Your primary midwife will be with you once you notify him/her with a second midwife also in attendance. You may not have met the second midwife prior to your birth.

Prior to 37 weeks direction to your home will be entered onto the national ambulance database for easy access if needed during your labour and birth.Your midwife will be closely monitoring you throughout your labour and if there are any causes for concern, she may discuss transferring you into hospital for delivery. Your midwife will travel into the hospital with you and support you as needed and appropriate within the hospital setting.

All midwives are experts in supporting birth safely from qualification. The continuity of care will support your SECM to recognise any deviations from the norm. During birth SECMs are fully trained in dealing with obstetric emergencies that may occur in a home birth situation. We do regular updates in maternal and neonatal resuscitation, attend regular updates in a variety of other emergency skills and partake in peer review. We have a Designated Midwifery Officer (DMO) in the HSE who ensures that we are competent and safe to practice and who also ensures that all our equipment is checked on a yearly basis.