Your first step in antenatal care is a visit to your GP to confirm your pregnancy. Your GP will then discuss your options for maternity care.
Every woman who is pregnant and ordinarily resident in Ireland is entitled to maternity care under the Maternity and Infant Scheme. Ordinarily resident means you are living here, or you intend to remain living here for at least one year.
Semi – Private Care
This care varies in different hospitals. Generally you will see your own consultant during each antenatal visit but the birth of your baby will be attended by the doctor on duty.
After the birth you will be transferred to a semi private room assuming availability.
If you choose private care, you will see your own consultant at each antenatal visit either in the hospital or your consultant’s private rooms. Your consultant endeavors to be present at the birth however, this is not guaranteed.
After the birth you will be transferred to a private room when available.
Some midwifery led schemes are run in some of the larger hospitals and offered in certain catchment areas to women deemed ‘low risk’.
The Domino Scheme
The Domino scheme offers midwifery care from the beginning of pregnancy, during labour, and up until your baby is 5-10 days old.
- Your baby’s birth takes place in the hospital but your antenatal and postnatal visits take place in your home or local health center.
- A community midwife will attend the birth of your baby.
- All being well, you and your baby can go home, six to twenty four hours after the birth, where you will receive midwifery care up until the baby is ten days old.
Early Transfer Home
Under this scheme, if you have a normal birth and feel well, you leave the hospital about six hours after the birth. You will be offered a full assessment in the hospital to make sure that you are ready for transfer home. A midwife will visit you in your home every day up to and including day 5.
This scheme is only available to women living in certain catchment areas so check with your local hospital /HSE.
A small number of women wish to give birth in their home and this is facilitated by community midwives if:
- you live in their catchment area and
- you are deemed suitable i.e. at low risk of complications.
Generally, all antenatal and postnatal care is carried out in the home but your scan is arranged through a hospital at around 20 weeks.