Helpful Info / Maternity Care

Maternity Care

All three health insurance providers impose a 52-week waiting period for maternity benefits when you are taking out health insurance for the first time. This means that you have to have been on the plan for 52 weeks at the time you give birth, not before you conceive. All plans have to include some level of maternity benefits, regardless of age or gender, due to the minimum benefit legislation. So it is important consider this and put this into action if you are hoping to be covered for maternity benefits.

The three options available – public, semi-private and private – all offer exceptional maternity care; it is really down to your preference.

PublicSemi-PrivatePrivate
AntenatalLengthy waiting times, fewer scans and you may not see the same medical professional every time.Less waiting time than the public system. You will have a dedicated obstetrician or a member of their team at your visits.Private consultant during pregnancy. Increased scans and visits.
BirthMidwife led birth. Access to hospital obstetrician if complications arise.Registrar or midwife led. Access to a dedicated obstetrician or a member of his/her team if complications arise.Your obstetrician is usually present for the birth of your baby.
PostnatalPublic ward.Semi-private ward (five beds or fewer).Private room.
You PayFree of charge.Consultant dependent, typically €900-€3,000.Consultant dependent, typically €2,000 to €5,000.
Your Insurer PaysPrivate room (€1,000 per night). Contributions towards consultant fees dependent on plan.Semi-private room (€813 per night. Contributions towards consultant fees dependent on plan.Contributions towards consultant fees dependent on plan.
ProsThis option will not cost you anything and you won’t receive inferior care by choosing to go publicly.Visits may involve less waiting time than the public system. Your obstetrician or a member of his/her team will be available in case of complications, but you may not need to see them and will otherwise be attended to by midwives.This type of care involves less waiting time, you will see your consultant at each antenatal visit, and your obstetrician is likely to attend your baby’s birth. If available, you will be given a private room with your newborn. It may be easier to contact your consultant directly if you have any questions.
ConsDue to pressure on resources in the public system, waiting times may be lengthy. There may be fewer scans. There may be more patients in the ward in hospital and you may not see the same person every time.The cost of this type of care can be expensive and will depend on what kind of health insurance you have, as all fees may not be covered. Semi-private care is only available in Dublin and is becoming increasingly popular, so it is often difficult to get an appointment.This is the most expensive maternity care and your obstetrician may not be available for the birth. If this is the case, another doctor will attend.

Alternative Care Options

Domino and Community MidwivesMidwifery-Led UnitsHome Birth
AntenatalCombined care with your GP.A team of hospital midwives look after your pregnancy.Eligibility dependent – discuss with your GP and maternity hospital.
BirthYour care is provided by community midwives. You give birth in hospital and you are discharged 6-12 hours later. You receive postnatal care at home.A team of hospital midwives are the lead healthcare professionals during the birth of your baby.You give birth in your own home with a self-employed community midwife present.
PostnatalDaily visits from a midwife for up to seven days.The team of hospital midwives look after your postnatal care.Regular visits from your designated community midwife for the first seven days.
You PayNothing.Nothing.Nothing, unless you use a private self-employed community midwife outside HSE terms.
Your Insurer PaysNothing.Nothing.Contributions vary on each health insurance plan.

Explanation of Benefits

Type: Outpatient/other maternity benefit/personalised package.

All Irish Life Health members have unlimited access for one year to the GentleBirth app. This app provides everything you need for a more relaxed and positive pregnancy, birth, and parenting journey.

Type: Outpatient/personalised package.

This benefit allows you to claim contributions towards the cost of attending a nutritionist or a dietician consultation.

Type: Outpatient/personalised package.

With this benefit you can claim contributions towards the cost of antenatal classes provided by a midwife.
Type: Outpatient/personalised package.

This benefit allows you to claim back some of the costs of pregnancy yoga, pregnancy pilates, baby yoga and baby pilates.

Type: Outpatient/personalised package.

With this benefit you can claim contributions towards the cost of attending an acupuncturist.
Type: Member benefit.

This benefit gives you a point of sale discount on holistic pre and postnatal treatments at the UMamma Sanctuary.

Type: Outpatient/personalised package.

This benefit allows you to claim a contribution towards 3D and 4D maternity scans or early pregnancy scan depending on your plan. See your table of cover for specific entitlements.

Type: Personalised package.

Under this benefit you can claim a contribution towards the cost of a Zika screening consultation and/or test through the Tropical Medical Bureau.

Type: Outpatient/personalised package.

Under this benefit you can claim back some of the costs of pre/postnatal care provided by a consultant, GP or a midwife during and after your pregnancy. The following costs are included and can be claimed per pregnancy:
- Outpatient consultant’s fees (obstetrician and gynaecologist), Maternity scans, Antenatal classes run by a midwife – both pre and postnatal,
- Pre and postnatal physiotherapist services provided by UMamma or by a chartered physiotherapist with a speciality in women's health.

Type: In-patient.

Your insurer offers cover for either:

a) your hospital costs for up to three nights where you are admitted to a public hospital. The type of hospital accommodation that will be covered under this benefit is the same as that covered under your public hospitals cover in your in-patient benefits OR

b) the contribution specified in your Table of Cover towards your hospital costs.

Type: In-patient.

Where your plan covers you for “up to three nights’ accommodation” but it is medically necessary for you to remain for more than three nights, the remainder of your stay in hospital will be covered under your in-patient benefits. Please note that caesarean section deliveries are covered under your in-patient benefits.

Type: In-patient.

Your insurer will pay a contribution towards your consultants professional fees. The amount and type of cover available under your plan is set out in your Table of Cover.

With this benefit you can claim back some costs where you have to travel to be with your partner when they are admitted to a medical facility to give birth to your child. These include accommodation, travel and childminding.