I’m pregnant and thinking of having a homebirth, what do I do?

Contact a SECM in your area, details available on this website. Arrange a meeting to discuss your choices and gain what information you need to make a decision about your preferred care and place of birth. You will also need to contact the Domiciliary Midwifery Officer to inform her of your intended place of birth and to commence the paperwork process.

Women requesting a homebirth must meet suitability criteria as set out by the HSE.You can view the current eligibility criteria on the HSE website but your SECM will discuss all this with you when you make contact. You will be contacted throughout your pregnancy by the Designated Midwifery officer in your area.

What does care with an SECM involve?

  • 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 speak with your doctor if there are complications.
  • If complications arise, it may become necessary for your midwife to pass your care over to an obstetrician in the hospital you are registered with. The obstetrician will then become responsible for your care. Your midwife may continue to provide support for you even if you need obstetric care. You will need to discuss this with each individual midwife.
  • Midwifery students may also be involved in your care. If your midwife has a student working with her, 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 birth and medical history.
  • Your primary midwife will be present for your baby’s birth. It is now mandatory for a second midwife to be present at all home births as per the new MOU/agreement between the SECM and the HSE. This may be one of many SECMs and details and arrangements for this will be discussed between yourself, the SECM and the DMO.
  • Your primary midwife is mainly responsible for providing care for you during labour & birth and immediately afterwards. The second midwife is responsible for supporting this care and attending to your newborn immediately after the birth.
  • 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.

How much do you charge?

The HSE pays the midwife for a defined service of ten visits, six of which are in your own home, labour care and limited mileage. This service is free, the details of which will be discussed with you by your midwife. Extra charges for extra visits, all visits at home, payment to second midwife for example may be incurred and will be discussed between you and your SECM.

Do I continue with my G.P. and hospital team if I book with you?

You can continue to see your G.P. and obstetric team. They will be informed of your intended place of birth. You are required to book into a hospital of your choice for bloods and assessment. Discuss your individual needs with your midwife regard frequency of visits etc.

What about insurance?

SECMs are covered for clinical indemnity insurance by the States Claims Agency through their contract with the HSE to provide care to women who meet the eligibility criteria as set out by the HSE. The SECM has Public Liability Insurance and other insurance payments to cover herself either individually or through the CMA.

What if I want a home waterbirth?

Most SECMs provide a home waterbirth service, discuss it with your individual midwife.

Who will be at my home birth?

Your primary midwife will be with you for labour and delivery and there will also be a second midwife present for the birth and immediate postnatal period.

What if there is a problem during my home birth?

Your midwife will be closely monitoring you throughout your labour and if there are any causes for concern, s/he may discuss transferring you into hospital for delivery. Your midwife will travel into the hospital with you where s/he will hand over your care to the hospital midwives and doctors. In some cases s/he may remain with you in a support capacity.

What sort of emergency training do you have?

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.

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