Is birthing at home/in a birth centre safe?
Yes! All our midwives are trained and experienced to care for women in these settings, along with having equipment to deal with a range of scenarios. A study done on the safest place for a woman to birth, comparing birth centres, home, midwifery led units and hospitals, found that first time mums are safest in a birthcentre, while subsequent births were safest at home. The study is easily accessible on https://www.nct.org.uk/professional/research/pregnancy-birth-and-postnatal-care/birth/birthplace-study.
At how many weeks can I book with you?
You can book as soon as you find out you are pregnant. We will do a booking history within a few days of that and organise a dating scan for you. You can also book later in the pregnancy if you decide you want to change from hospital based care to us.
What area does NM cover?
What services do you provide?
NM will provide antenatal education, taught through the Gentlebirth programme. Full antenatal care, including scans. Care during labour at home/birth centre. Home assessment during labour if you choose to have a hospital birth but want to stay at home as long as possible, and you can change your mind at any point. Postnatal care for up to 6 weeks postpartum, along with breastfeeding support. Your primary midwife who will provide most of your care will only be a phonecall away at all times also.
Does my midwife have the same qualifications as a hospital based midwife?
Yes. All of our employees are qualified Midwives and are registered with the Irish governing body NMBI (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland) and most also have registration with the UK governing body (NMC). They are very experienced in what they do.
Does my baby have to be checked in the hospital after birth?
Who can I contact to find out further information?
Will my midwife help me with my decisions around labour and birth?
Of course. The midwives at NM are here to help and support you through all aspects of labour, birth and the postnatal period. They give you all the most relevant, up-to-date information and allow you to make your own informed decisions.
If I don’t want any vaginal examinations is that okay?
Yes. We respect your wishes as much as possible. Almost any decision you make is okay as long as you understand the pros and cons around it and are making an informed decision. Sometimes your midwife might suggest that they would rather something else and it is then still your decision. We never do anything without your informed consent.
Will I get much help if I want to breastfeed?
Yes, you will have lots of help if needed. One of the benefits of not being constrained to a hospital setting is that your midwife can give you extra time with things like breastfeeding. Our midwives have helped countless women and have buckets of information and tricks to help you and baby.
What equipment do I need to have a homebirth?
We bring most of the things we need ourselves, including a birthing pool. if you have a birthing ball it can be useful. Also shower curtains to protect the floors and a hose. Anything else needed can be discussed at your visits.
What happens after the birth?
After the birth your midwife will help you get comfortable and get baby feeding. You can eat and move around as soon as you feel like it. Baby is checked over and weighed. Your blood loss is monitored pain relief can be given. If you had a homebirth your midwife will stay for a few hours to make sure you are okay and tidy up (you wouldn’t know anything had happened if it wasn’t for the baby in your arms!). If you are at a birth centre they keep you in for about 6 hours after the birth and then you can go home. Your midwife calls on day 1 and day 5 and as much or as little as you want/need for 6 weeks after birth.
Who can have a water birth?
Just about anybody who wants a birth at home or in a birth centre can have a water birth.
What if I have paid and have a miscarriage?
Who will do my visits?
Each person is assigned a midwife to be their primary care provider. They will see you at every visit (or sometimes their buddy midwife) and we try to ensure they are on call around the time you are due. Continuity of care is a big part of what we provide and all the evidence shows it has the best outcomes.
Can I still access your antenatal classes even if I am not receiving my care from you?
Yes, of course. We will announce dates for courses as they arise so follow our social media platforms/sign up to our newsletter to find out when your nearest one is on next.
What if I have had a previous caesarean section?
We, at NM, have helped many women with their VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean). We monitor your baby and you closely and if we are worried can transfer you into your nearest maternity unit.
How do I know if I am a suitable candidate?
If you want a minimal intervention birth where your needs and requests are taken into account at all times and listened to then you are more than likely suitable!
Who will be present if I have a homebirth?
Your midwife will be there and they will contact their midwife partner for the birth. Apart from that you can have whoever you want there. We recommend not having too many people as it can interrupt the normal flow of labour, however it is all your own decision.
What kind of pain relief can I have?
Although we carry very little pain relief with us, using the pool with Entonox (gas and air) has often been referred to as “the midwives’ epidural”. Some of our midwives use aromatherapy and reflexology also. Hypnobirthing (offered as part of the Gentlebirth class) has also been shown to act as a form of pain relief and make labour and birth an enjoyable experience.
What if my partner is not convinced but I want to have a home birth?
It is important to be well supported during this time so your partner plays a big part in your birth too. Someone from the NM team can discuss it with you further and hopefully quash any concerns.
What if something goes wrong?
We are equipped and trained for just about any scenario that can go wrong and unfortunately sometimes that does mean we would have to transfer you into the nearest maternity unit. We plan on having a process in place whereby we can ensure you get there asap, often resulting in little difference than the time you would be seen if you were in hospital.
If I have previously been considered high risk in pregnancy, can I still have a home/birth centre birth?
Depending on why you were considered high risk we would assess you individually, as we would do with any client, give you all the most up-to-date information and research and allow you to make an informed decision.
How much does it cost?
Does my health insurance cover this?
Yes, health insurance usually covers our homebirths but check with each individual health insurer before applying.
How do I apply?
How often do I see my midwife during my pregnancy?
You will see your midwife at booking, usually between 6-10 weeks. Then again for a dating scan at 12 weeks. A 16-week check-up. Anomaly scan at 20 weeks and then at 24, 28, 32, 36, 38, 40, 41, 42…..!
Are Ultrasound scans included?
Yes, they are provided as part of your pregnancy package.
What if I decide I want an epidural in labour?
If that happens your midwife will support you and encourage you. However, if you really want to get an epidural you can transfer to your nearest maternity unit.
What if my baby is breech?
If your baby is breech your midwife will talk to you in depth about the pros and cons for a vaginal breech delivery and also for a caesarean section. With all the information for each option you can make the decision that you feel is right. Our midwives also have various techniques to help baby to turn head-down before the due date.
Do I need hospital approval?
No, you don’t need any hospital approval to avail of our service.
What if I need to have an induction?
If you ‘need’ an induction for any reason then again, your midwife will discuss all the pros and cons. You will be the one making the informed decisions for all aspects of your care.