Ireland’s first private midwife led service ‘Neighbourhood Midwives,’ has been formally launched and is recruiting.
It expects to increase the number of midwives working for it from 20 to 120 by the end of next year.
Co-founded by Dundalk based midwife Dan Oakes (34), whose three children were born at home, ‘Neighbourhood Midwives,’ has a growing network of midwives providing tailored one-to-one care before, during and after birth including birth at home.
Dan swapped a career in construction for midwifery studies resulting in Dan becoming Ireland’s first male midwife to graduate from a new 4 year course wholly covering midwifery,
“Our service means that for the first time mothers have a choice in private maternity care in Ireland that includes a home birth. The woman is at the centre of our care and our bespoke packages give them the ultimate level of maternity support possible to help make pregnancy and birth a positive experience for mum and baby” he explained.
“We need more midwives because the demand for our service is growing. As we increase the number of midwives we will be able to increase the areas where we can offer our service. Ultimately we want mums in every county on the island of Ireland to have the option of a private midwife led care including home birth if that is what they want and it is deemed safe,” Dan added.
Neighbourhood Midwives have joined with ‘UK Birth Centres’ and as a result of this partnership, “Neighbourhood Midwives can benefit from the wealth of experience, expertise, governance and quality structures that UK Birth Centres provides thus ensuring safe care in a fully indemnified model,” said Dr Linda Bryceland, head of Midwifery with UK Birth Centres.
All Neighbourhood Midwives are qualified and registered with Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) or the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and all have experience of working in the HSE or NHS.
Dan said, “Choice in maternity care underpins our philosophy. Complete continuity from a known midwife in pregnancy and birth has long been the gold standard in maternity. This is because continuity in care is consistently proven to increase positive outcomes and save lives.”
Each appointment lasts at least 90 minutes and is at the time and place most convenient to the expectant mum. “If you need care at 10pm on a Sunday night, your Neighbourhood Midwife will be there,” he said.
There are range of birth support packages available ranging from €2,000 to €6,000 and the majority of them are covered by private health insurers.
Louise Brownell has had two home births and said, “I highly recommend a home birth if you are a low-risk pregnancy and if you feel most comfortable in your home and less comfortable in a hospital.”
“The care I received with Neighbourhood Midwives was outstanding, gentle and compassionate.”