After solving all your doubts during the initial stages of your soon-to-be parental status, and perhaps experiencing your pregnancy in Denmark, a new set of uncertainties might appear as you come close to giving birth. A perfectly normal situation when you are facing this important chapter of your life away from home. Facing a new health system, dealing with different cultural approaches and even having a limited network in this country might make you hesitate about how to face this episode. However, we hope that the following article gives you some encompassing information about what to expect when giving birth in Denmark, enabling you to be more prepared for the most memorable day in this journey.
As your due date approaches it is a good idea to carry with you at all times your health booklet (‘‘Vandrejournal’), as well as your yellow card (CPR) and any other additional documentation you consider relevant, such as additional medical examinations or residency official documentation.
Just like during pregnancy, the entire process of giving birth at a Danish hospital will be available in English. All medical staff is in capacity of performing their duties in this language, however in case the patient does not speak English and interpreter shall be required. We recommend you to talk about this specific issue before hand with your midwife and/or GP.
Fees and medical attention
The fees of all the normal procedures throughout pregnancy, birth and post birth are covered by the state for residents in Denmark. For non-residents, some fees might be applied according to the case. All individuals are entitled to receive medical attention in Denmark, yet additional services requested by the family such as additional scanning or private care shall be payed individually.
Before going to the hospital
The first thing you need to do right after water breaking or beginning your labor with contractions is calling your midwife. For this, have your CPR number ready and make sure you have timed the contractions. Although you might ask your partner to call, the midwife will insist on talking to you personally in order to know your condition and evaluate if you shall go to the hospital or not. Note that if you come too early in the process or if you simply head to the hospital without your midwife’s referral, most probable you’ll be sent back home. In case of emergencies this will not apply.
At the hospital
Although the hospital might try to get the midwife you have been in contact with you throughout your pregnancy to be in charge of your labor, you might be assigned another one who is on duty in order to do so. After you have checked-in at the hospital you will be checked (dilatation process) and after this you will be redirected to a birthing room.
As mentioned in the first article, Pregnancy in Denmark, women can decide the place and conditions for giving birth. The common options are at any public hospital, at home, in a birthing pool or by cesarian.
In Denmark there are also different anesthetic methods offered for women in labor such as an epidural, ‘bee-stings, ‘laughing gas’ and acupuncture. Note that these methods are not automatically offered and it is responsibility of the mother to-be to express the desires to get the different alternatives. The time to do it and the procedures will be handled by the medical staff.
Note that in Denmark, practices such as aspirating the newborns to remove the liquids, putting preventive antibiotics in the eyes and some others procedures done in other countries aren’t done. The baby will later on be checked by the midwife once the first bonding moments have passed.
The new parents and the baby can go home after 4 to 6 hours after birth, if there are no complications for both the mother and the child. There is not a prolonged stay at the hospital, however for first time parents it is given the option to stay at the patient’s hotel (at the hospital) for up to two days free of charge for the mother and the child. Here you will receive encompassing assistance in all the different issues that might rise during those first moments with your newborn, such as breast/bottle feeding, weight, recovery etc.
Post Natal Care
The day after giving birth to your child your midwife will call you and will discuss how are you doing, how are you feeling and will solve any questions you have at that moment. You can continue calling her during the week after you have given birth.
You will be given an appointment for a check-up at the after-birth clinic between 48 to 72 hours of giving birth. This appointment will take approximately 45 minutes and a hearing and blood test will be done on the baby. The mother can also get assistance in different issues if that is the case. Both parents can attend but is not recommended to bring older children.
The following are some elements we believe are worth noting at this point of the journey.
- Continue to have a very open communication with your midwife about your birthing preferences.
- Visit the birth guard before, when approaching your due date, in order to avoid complications when the time comes.
- Clear out with the hospital or midwife who can be with you while giving birth and make arrangements in case you have older children.
- When going to the hospital you need to arrange transport yourself. Make sure you have a proper car seat for returning from the hospital. In case a taxi is needed, when calling your midwife, before going to the hospital, make sure to note this as they might give you a special number to call.
- Your hospital bag should contain: health booklet, any personal medication you take, toiletries, a playlist in case you want some music, comfortable pair of shoes and an outfit for giving birth, a travel pillow in case you opt for a birthing pool, a baby duvet with 2 covers, clothes for yourself and your baby (2-3 sets per day for the baby) and a blanket to ride back home.