Family Planning & Antenatal Care
We offer pre-conception counselling to optimise your health if you are considering a pregnancy. If you are having difficulty conceiving, we can arrange the preliminary investigations (blood tests, semen analysis, ultrasound etc).
If you are pregnant, we participate in the HSE Maternity and infant Care Scheme which provides free ante-natal care to expecting mothers, a 2 week baby check, and a 6 week baby check for mother and baby.
See your GP as soon as possible to confirm you are pregnant. Your GP will refer you for your first hospital antenatal appointment and dating scan. You can discuss the options available to you for antenatal or maternity care and your GP can register you for the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme.
Maternity and Infant Care Scheme
Every woman who is pregnant and ordinarily resident in Ireland is entitled to maternity care under the Maternity and Infant Scheme. Ordinarily resident means you are living here, or you intend to remain living here for at least one year. On the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme, your maternity care is provided by your GP and a hospital obstetrician (a doctor who specialises in pregnancy and labour).
If this is your first pregnancy, the GP will carry out your first examination (ideally before 12 weeks). You will have a further 5 examinations during the pregnancy, which alternate between GP visits and maternity unit/hospital visits. Your schedule of visits may be changed by your GP or hospital obstetrician, depending on your situation.
If this is not your first pregnancy, you will have an initial examination and a further 6 examinations.
If you have a significant pregnancy related illness, for example, diabetes or hypertension, you may have up to 5 additional visits with your GP. Care for other illnesses which you may have at this time, but which are not related to your pregnancy, is not covered by the Scheme.
The Maternity and Infant Care Scheme also provides for 2 postnatal visits to the GP. This includes:
An examination of the baby at 2 weeks old
An examination of you and the baby at 6 weeks old
Mothers are entitled to free inpatient and outpatient public hospital services in respect of the pregnancy and the birth.
There are 3 vaccines you should get during pregnancy:
Getting these vaccines protects you from becoming ill with these conditions. You'll also protect your child while they're in your womb and for the first few months of their life. You can get these vaccines from your GP at the same time. All these vaccines are free if you have a medical card or GP visit card.
Whooping Cough Vaccine
Whooping cough (also known as pertussis) is highly contagious and can be life-threatening for babies.
You should get the vaccine:
during each pregnancy
between week 16 and 36 of your pregnancy (you can have it after 36 weeks but it's less effective)
If you are pregnant during the flu season (Sept-April) you should get the flu vaccine because you are at increased risk of severe complications from flu. The vaccine protects you during pregnancy. Getting the flu increases the risk of complications during your pregnancy and birth. The flu can lead to premature birth, smaller babies and stillbirth.
The flu vaccine can reduce the risk of stillbirth by over 50%. Getting the vaccine during pregnancy also protects your baby after birth. It reduces your baby’s risk of being admitted to hospital due to the flu.
You can get the flu vaccine safely at any time during pregnancy and you should get it as early as possible in your pregnancy. Flu season in Ireland usually lasts from September to the end of April. If you're pregnant during these months, you should get the flu vaccine. If you are pregnant through two flu seasons, two vaccines, one in each season, may be necessary.
Evidence shows COVID-19 vaccines are safe for you and your baby and protect you from getting very unwell. Most pregnant women who get COVID-19 get mild to moderate symptoms. They give birth as planned and the risk of passing on COVID-19 to their baby is low. But you are more likely to get very unwell and need treatment in intensive care than a woman who is not pregnant. The virus may also cause complications for your baby.
Postnatal depression affects 10 to 15% of women within the first year of giving birth. The symptoms of postnatal depression sometimes start as baby blues and then get worse. For some women, the symptoms take time to develop and may be most obvious when your baby is 4 to 6 months old.
Symptoms of postnatal depression vary from person to person. You may have mild or severe symptoms. No matter what symptoms you have, there are supports available to help. If you think you are experiencing postnatal depression, it is important to ask for help. You can contact your public health nurse or contact the practice to arrange an appointment to see your GP and discuss how you are feeling. If you do not feel up to contacting the practice, you can ask someone you trust (such as a partner, friend or family member) to make an appointment for you.
Useful Links & Resources
MyChild.ie - Advice and guides from the HSE on: Pregnancy, Labour & Birth, Babies & Toddlers, Parenting
MyOptions.ie - Information and support on all your unplanned pregnancy options, including continued pregnancy supports and abortion services.
The following websites are all good resources:
Cuidiú - is a parent-to-parent voluntary support charity offering free information about postnatal depression. The charity also has parent-to-parent supporters who can chat and listen to you by email, phone or online. Find contact details for your local support worker on the Cuidiú website.
Breastfeeding.ie - excellent HSE website providing practical information about how to breastfeed, local support groups, educational videos, etc.
Rollercoaster.ie - Irish parenting website with useful information and discussion boards on a wide range of topics.
Mummypages.ie - As well as new stories and advice articles, Mummypages also has a forum where parents can talk and discuss all topics regarding raising children.
Association of Lactation Consultants Ireland - contact details for accredited lactation consultants.
This content of this page (and links to other sites) is for general information purposes only and does not substitute medical advice. While we endeavour to keep this website up-to-date, errors may occur. We advise all patients to discuss their health concerns with their GP. If you would like to suggest amendments or highlight new information that could be useful to others please don’t hesitate to get in touch.