A woman has died in Limerick after giving birth at home 1 week ago

A woman has died in Limerick after giving birth at home

Such tragic news.

Homebirth services have been momentarily suspended across the Mid-West region pending the outcome of an investigation into a women dying in Limerick following a home birth earlier this month.

The incident, which has been deemed a tragedy by external experts, occurred on June 5th, after the woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

According to the Irish Examiner, the woman's family has been informed that an investigation is underway and that the region's home birth service has been suspended pending the outcome of that investigation. However, they do not wish to comment publicly at this time.

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A spokesperson for the UL Hospital Group said this week:

“We can confirm that we have temporarily suspended the homebirth service in the Mid-West following a recent maternal death.

“The staff of UL Hospitals Group and of the homebirth service would like to extend profound sympathies to the family involved on their devastating loss.”

External review of the incident

The UL Hospital Group spokesperson said an external review of the homebirth service across the Mid-West region of Limerick, Clare, and North Tipperary is currently underway.

“A group of external experts, including those with midwifery and obstetrics expertise, is being assembled to conduct the review; looking at patient safety, clinical governance, and any other issues arising," the spokesperson revealed.

Last year the Mid-West and West regions had a total of 43 homebirths, and the decision to suspend homebirth services here until further notice will no doubt affect some women, as anyone registered to have a homebirth in this region cannot now go ahead as planned.

"We have made contact with the small number of women in the region who were due to have home births in the coming months in relation to continuing their care," the UL Hospital Group spokesperson explained.

The HSE offers a free national homebirth service around Ireland, staffed by community midwives in collaboration with public hospitals.

Concern has been expressed among the homebirth and maternity communities at the decision to suspend the whole homebirth service in the Mid-West in response to the woman's death.

Interest in homebirths has risen in Ireland since maternity hospitals were forced to close to visitors during two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, and last year, almost 650 women across the country chose to give birth at home, and not in a hospital setting.