Homebirth in Ireland

Homebirth in Ireland 30th Anniversary conference

Dublin, 29th April 2012

An Overview

By Stella Onions



I recently attended the Homebirth Conference in Dublin, which was as well organised as it was attended – over 300 people. The Home Birth Association of Ireland is celebrating 30 years of supporting mothers and midwives! One thing that really struck me was the genuine warmth of all the delegates and speakers. The keynote speaker was Ina May Gaskin. She is an inspiring woman, who at the age of 73, still works tirelessly to promote natural birth and birth rights.

 The other thing that struck me was sad really, it seems there is a growing trend to outlaw home birth in Ireland. This is reflected in many different countries where a woman’s right to choose how and where and with whom, she gives birth, is being eroded. This fundamental right is being taken away, under our noses and mothers and midwives are being persecuted in many countries.

 Giving birth has been medicalised to an extent where women are sometimes afraid to trust their own bodies. Independent midwives are being forced out of their profession by various governments introducing legislation effectively outlawing the practice, which has been statistically proven to have consistently better outcomes for mother and baby than comparable hospital outcomes. Birth should not be something that is routinely and actively managed in a clinical setting according to timetables. Neither should birth be treated like a disease and dictated by health authorities and obstetrics. Hospital births are great if a woman feels supported in her choice, it should never be her only choice.

 Ina May spoke of our need to fight for our rights as women and mothers, for our right to give birth how and where we choose, and to be supported in our choices. She even suggested getting the older members of society out, with the message "We don't want our grandchildren born in fear."

 And Robin Lim said in a recent interview, “It’s a human rights issue which really needs to be brought up. In the U.S. where they spend the most on childbirth technology, they are number 50 in maternal mortality. It’s safer to give birth in 49 other countries which spend less money and have more woman-appropriate models and culture-appropriate models.”




Another report coming soon from the Human Rights in Childbirth conference in The Hague. 




Copyright © 2012, Mum and Me magazine