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12th May 2022

HSE not planning on lifting home water birth ban yet

Kat O'Connor

There is no definitive date in place for lifting the ban on home water births.

The HSE has stressed that they are still investigating two home water birth incidents.

The lifting of the ban will be considered when these incidents are fully investigated.

A temporary pause was placed on home water births in November 2020.

Speaking to The Journal, the HSE said the pause will continue for the time being.

It will remain in place “pending the investigations into two incidents being finalised”.

Women were able to have home water births under the HSE’s national home birth scheme.

water birth

The service was suspended “in the interest of health and safety of women and babies”.

A woman in labour is able to immerse herself in water, but they must leave the birthing pool for the birth of their child.

The HSE understands this news is very disappointing for many expectant mums, but they believe it is in their best interest.

The Midwives Association of Ireland and the Community Midwives Association say the ban should be lifted.

In a joint statement, they said: “Prior to the 1930s many infants were born at home under the care of midwives, often in impoverished circumstances.”

“We query how much progress there is in Ireland if midwives can’t practice basic midwifery skills.

“We’re disallowed from providing the pain relief and support which water birth gives to women in a home-birth setting.”

They believe the ban is “non-evidenced based”.

They also asked Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to lift the ban.

What do you think?