The first thing to do when you find out you are pregnant is to make an appointment with your GP to confirm your result. Your GP may or may not do a pregnancy test; many will simply ask the date of your last period and calculate an estimated due date from there. Your GP will give you a referral letter that you can present at the maternity hospital of your choice. In Ireland, all expectant mothers are entitled to free maternity care, covering antenatal visits, labour, delivery and postnatal care. You may opt to obtain these services under the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme, or combined care, where your antenatal care is split between your GP and maternity unit. Alternatively, you may choose to visit the hospital’s antenatal clinic, either as a public, semi-private or private patient. Have a good chat with your GP about your options, to make sure that you are making the best and most informed decision, for you and your baby.
In Ireland there are three options when it comes to antenatal care: