Mothers pursuing home birth may need to fly solo

Due to a recent problem arising in regards to professional indemnity insurance for qualified midwives specialising in home birth, one campaign group has issued a warning that many women may end up giving birth at home with no professional care present.

The Ireland branch of the Association for Improvements in Maternity Services reported recently that newly proposed legislation affecting midwifery will effectively criminalize midwives who specialise in home births if the circumstances of the pregnant woman do not meet public liability insurance criteria currently set out in a memorandum from the HSE that midwives are required to sign.

Krysia Lynch of AIMS recently spoke with informational website¬†irishhealth.com about the legislation, to be based on the memorandum, ¬†which in the organisation’s view is too restrictive in its criteria for professional liability insurance for home birth midwives.

Ms Lynch claimed that the criteria are actually based on the HSE’s misrepresentation of certain home birth guidelines, and that the HSE is now going forward with an attempt to impose restrictions on both midwife-led and home birth services.

Should there be a change in the mother’s clinical circumstances in the middle of a home birth, says AIMS, the newly-delineated criteria could result in a midwife becoming uninsured.

The new legislation, if enacted into law, could have midwives facing imprisonment, fines, or both, if they are found in breach whilst attending a home birth, AIMS says.

The organisation stated that as a result, many expectant mothers who have no desire to attend a maternity hospital for their child’s birth would rather fly solo, without any kind of professional care, if the criteria are made into law.

As a result, AIMS has been making calls for revisions to the Nurses and Midwives Bill to alter the home birth criteria, in addition to its efforts to organise a petition to change the proposals in the currently pending legislation.

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