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Flexible maternity services


Many hospitals in Ireland now offer more flexibility in their maternity services, operating early discharge schemes, home births and midwives' clinics.


Community and Domino Midwives Schemes

A number of hospitals are operating a Domino/Community Midwives Scheme. This scheme enables women who are deemed at 'low risk of complications' to see members of a dedicated midwives' team for their antenatal visits and to have a member of this team deliver their baby, either in hospital (Domino Scheme) or at home. Antenatal visits are made either to the Community Midwives' Clinic or to a local health centre. Additional visits are made to the woman's home.

Each woman interested in the scheme will have a routine scan at around 18-22 weeks and a full physical examination to assess suitability for the scheme. If any problems develop during the pregnancy or in labour, you will be immediately transferred back to full hosptial care

Under the Domino/Community Midwives Scheme you are entitled to an early discharge after birth, if you wish, and the midwife will visit you at home for up to a week after the birth. The scheme is available at:

Midwifery-led Units

Midwifery-led Units provide healthy women, who don't have risk factors for pregnancy and labour, a choice in how they access maternity care. A team of experienced midwives provides the care. Mothers can give birth in a uniquely designed birth room where they are cared for by a midwife and where they can avail of facilities such as music, a water pool or supportive aids (gym ball, bean bags etc) if required. At any point where a problem is detected or anticipated, formal contact is established with the obstetric/paediatric team on call or the woman's GP, if appropriate.

Mothers can have an early discharge home and one of the team of midwives will visit them at home, daily if necessary.

Midwifery-led Units are available at:


These schemes are available free of charge.

Further information

You should make contact with maternity services in your area and ask about schemes operated by them.

A guide to maternity services entitled Consumer Guide to Maternity Services in Ireland is produced by Cuidiu: Irish Childbirth Trust and provides information on the different types of maternity services available. Cuidiu is a parent to parent community based voluntary support group.

Page updated: 27 July 2010



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