This is Heather's Lodge.
Oooh!!!! I'd be so interested in hearing how obstetrical care differs over there! From what I read and hear, Europe is soooo far ahead of the US!
and welcome to your lodge!
I agree with Laura!! Very interested to hear how your care differs. Welcome to your lodge!!
Welcome to your lodge! I am excited to hear about another overseas birth experience...
Prenatal care is managed by midwives--nurses trained in prenatal care. Here in Stockholm, I have a lot of choice about where I go, but if you live in a rural area or small town, you may be stuck going to the MVC (roughly translated--mothercare ceneter) nearest to you. I chose to go private MVC primarily because I was already seeing doctors from this clinic about my infertility issues and miscarriage (I had a loss in March 07). Also, the office is literally five minutes away on foot and they have a child health clinic associated with them also (BVC--childcare center).
Prenatal care is entirely free. I haven't paid anything so far.
My typical appointment lasts about half an hour to an hour. My first appointment took longer and she took the time to talk to me about my emotions and answer all the questions I had. I saw the midwife once every four weeks and then starting at about 28 weeks, once every two weeks.
I feel that the care here is very hands off and they are not intrusive or pushy about scans or tests. In fact, I wanted a 12 week nuchal scan as I was very nervous about the baby being there--I just wanted to see that the baby was real, alive and well! I had to ask HER about it and if I could get one done. She arranged it for me without a problem (again, cost free at the local hospital). It was amazing to see that tiny person growing inside of me...my husband was especially awed and I think that's when he finally realized that we were going to have a new person in our lives.
Let's see...when my water breaks, I am to call my local hospital and tell them what happened so they can plan on my arrival in the next few hours or days. Then, when my contractions are three minutes apart, I am to call again and go in if I'm ready and they are ready for me. I feel quite fortunate that I live about a five minute drive from the hospital and I plan on laboring at home for as long as I can. At the hospital, I meet a birth midwife (not the same midwife who I have been seeing--though I did find out that the hospital where I am going has a practice associated with it with a group of midwives who are both involved in prenatal care and birth care--I may go that route next time).
At the hospital, if everything is okay with me and the baby (they monitor the fetal heart rate and the the contraction strength and frequency with an external monitor after I have arrived), then I can labor however I feel comfortable (at the hospital where I am going, they have a tub where you can labor if your water hasn't broken--water births are illegal here because, according to my Lamaze instructor, there was one fetal death and everyone over reacted).
There are a number of different pain relief techniques available. The midwives are trained in massage, acupressure and acupuncture. We also have nitrous oxide (laughing gas) available to use during contractions. And, of course, there is the walking epidural. I plan on using breathing techniques, massage, acupressure and maybe acupuncture depending on how I feel and how fast labor is progressing. I've never had acupuncture done before so I don't know how I'm going to react!
At the hospital I'm going to, solid food isn't given during labor (another reason to stay home as long as possible). You are allowed to have liquids and I hear that the midwives make a mean smoothie!
Let's see--I've talked with my midwife and my Lamaze instructor about birthing positions. I do not want to give birth on my back. Both assured me that the midwives are both trained in many different birth positions and will be active and supportive in helping me find a position that feels right to me. The common practice once the baby is out in the world is to place the baby immediately on the mom's chest. The baby is then 'checked out' by the midwife as noninvasively as possible...the cord stops pulsating and then is clamped and the birth partner is allowed to cut the cord if s/he wants to. Then mom, birth partner and baby are left alone for an hour of bonding if everything is okay.
We'll see if my experience matches this! I am quite nervous about delivering at the hospital despite the fact that Sweden has one of the lowest rates of fetal and maternity death. There is a baby boom here and there has been a lot of press about how busy the hospitals and midwives are. That's very discomforting to me! My hope is that I have an easy labor, laboring mostly at home with my husband and birth ball and then popping the babes out as soon as I get to the hospital. We'll see...
There has been a documentary on here called "The Midwives." It follows a different group of midwives through their shift each week. I've really enjoyed it because the hospitals are local and I feel like I have a better idea of what to expect once I arrive at the hospital in terms of care and facilities. So far, I've only seen one woman give birth out of bed (a little disappointing). One of the funniest things is that they bring you a platter with sandwiches, tall champagne glasses of sparkling water and fruit when the baby is born. The platter is complete with a tall, paper Swedish flag sticking out of the sandwich! I can't wait for that!
Here is a clip from the show. The baby's shoulder's have become fixed in the birth canal and the mom has been using laughing gas as her method of pain relief. The midwife here has called in an obstretician to help her deliver the baby.
Sorry this is such a novel! Please feel free to ask any questions.