Community Midwives Association
Like many European countries, the home birth rate in Ireland is low. Whether the absence of support nationally, within the health service, for a community midwifery service, leads to the absence of choice and subsequent lack of demand for home birth, or the low numbers do reflect an actual lack of demand from women is not known. In recent years, however, the number of women accessing the HSE homebirth service has more than doubled. Currently, as many women are being declined, as accepted to the scheme. This highlights that where a service exists, women will access it.
Despite promises to date, as there is no national community midwifery service provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE), Self Employed Community Midwives (formerly Independent Midwives) provide this service for women who choose home as their place of birth. Service provision is based on the availability of SECMs and their geographical location.
This has been the case since the 1970’s when home birth all but disappeared.