When you ring the hospital to make your first appointment, you will be asked if you intend to visit as a public, semi-private or private patient.
If you live in Ireland and fulfil residency criteria then you are entitled to free maternity care, regardless if you have health insurance or not. This will cover your antenatal care, pregnancy, labour and accommodation costs, whatever happens.
You will attend the hospital, or in some cases if your pregnancy is considered low risk, a midwife clinic, for your antenatal appointments. You may also choose combined care so that you can see our GP for some of the visits.
Hospitals have different policies so depending on your hospital you may not receive as many scans as you would like. You can go for extra scans in a private clinic if you wish. These cost between €140 and €190 depending the type of scan. These scans are available in Dublin, Cork, and Wicklow.
When you arrive at the hospital to give birth, you will be taken care of by a midwife, whom you may or may not have met before. If the birth goes well without any complications you might not see a doctor at all throughout your stay. However if there are complications, or you need forceps, ventouse or a caesarean, an obstetrician will help in the birth. Also if you choose to have an epidural, an anaesthetist will administer it.
After the birth you will be transferred to a public ward which usually has about 8 beds in it. This can be a very busy place, especially at visiting hours so you might want to check if there is an Early Transfer Home Scheme available where you will have postnatal visits at home.