Maternity care is the care you receive from healthcare professionals during your pregnancy. It’s sometimes called antenatal care or pregnancy care.
If you think you are pregnant, you can visit your GP (family doctor) or contact your local maternity unit or hospital. They can give you information on the care options available to you.
There are 3 different types of pregnancy care available to you:
- free public care
- semi-private care - this is only available in Dublin maternity hospitals
- private care
Free public care
If you live in Ireland or intend to live here for at least 1 year, you can get free maternity care through the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme.
Free public care covers births in hospitals and the HSE home birth service.
Your hospital appointments will usually be with a midwife. You can also choose to see your GP for some appointments. If your pregnancy is higher risk, obstetricians (pregnancy doctors) and midwives will provide your care.
Find out more about going public for maternity care
This type of care is only available in Dublin maternity hospitals.
Semi-private care combines public and private care. This means that part of your care is free, but you pay for additional services. If you have private health insurance, this may cover part of the cost.
If you choose semi-private care, a consultant obstetrician will oversee your care. A semi-private ward may be provided after the birth, if available.
Find out more about going semi-private for maternity care
Private antenatal and maternity care is available in all maternity hospitals. With this type of pregnancy care, you'll have a consultant obstetrician. Any extra scans or tests you need during your pregnancy will be covered. You may also get your own private room after the birth if one is available.
You'll usually need to pay a consultant's fee as well as a hospital fee if you go private. Your private insurance will cover most of the hospital fee, but may not cover the consultant's fee.
Find out more about going private for maternity care