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The Home Birth Association (HBA) of Ireland is a voluntary group, founded in 1982 to give information and support to those considering and opting for home birth. It helps parents make an informed choice by publishing leaflets, answering telephone queries, keeping lists of midwives, running monthly open meetings and organizing workshops & conferences.
The 2012 Home Birth Conference and AGM marked our 30th Anniverary.
The HBA lobbies and makes submissions to the relevant authorities, urging them to provide more information on home birth, to reintroduce practical domiciliary midwifery and to integrate nationwide domiciliary care into the maternity services.
The HBA receives no funding from any source other than membership subscriptions and is a registered charity.
Membership of the HBA is just €20 annually. Membership entitles you to:
- A quarterly newsletter
- Discounts on products and events
- Continuing updates on relevant issues
- A vote at the AGM which takes place at the yearly Home Birth Conference.
By becoming a member of the HBA you are supporting the very important cause of "Home Birthing" in Ireland and advocating for the rights of all women to choose when and how to give birth. Join today!
A little bit of history
The HBA was established in the spring of 1982 by Sheena McMahon.
Since her own very positive experiences, she had been inundated with enquiries from friends and through La Leche League and the Irish Childbirth Trust, and she decided that here was a need for an organisation to give information about and promote the option of home birth.
On an RTE Radio women’s programme, Sheena spoke of her own home birth experiences and announced a public meeting in the University Hall, Hatch Street, Dublin. The meeting was a resounding success and resulted in the formation of a national committee (Liz O’Brien, Carol Sanfey, Jackie and Damien Flynn, Bairbre Hardiman, Margaret Wynne, Deirdre and Gerry Hegarty).
Their first meeting was on January 19th 1983 and they began to organise group meetings, membership, a library, fundraising, a newsletter and a constitution.
The first HBA newsletter was published in the summer of 1983 and has been a very important means of communication for the members of the HBA ever since. In the first ten months of its existence, the HBA answered over 500 enquiries from all counties in Ireland - and all this on a purely voluntary basis. Sheena had an optimistic view of domiciliary/ community midwifery in Ireland, predicting a return to previous levels (e.g. 30% plus in 1956 - a similar percentage to that of Holland today) within 5 years.
Unfortunately, turning the tide has been slower than she anticipated but this has certainly never dampened the enthusiasm and dedication of the HBA and its members in lobbying for the rights of women in regards to where they choose to give birth.
The second public meeting was held the following year in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin, and since then it has been a central function of the HBA to hold these meetings to keep the idea of home birth in the public eye. Many well-known people from the natural childbirth field have come to speak at these conferences including Ina May Gaskin, Janet Balaskas, Mary Cronk, Sheila Kitzinger Michel Odent and Frederic Leboyer.
The Association is funded solely by membership subscriptions and voluntary contributions. It is administered by an executive committee of persons elected annually by the membership.