Intro: What brought you to Norway?
1.) What surprised you about prenatal care in Norway?
2) What surprised you about giving birth in Norway?
I was surprised by how easy it was to have such a relaxing, comfortable, intimate birth experience at a hospital. The hospital I gave birth at is 5 minutes away from our apartment. I labored in a nice, comfortable double bed while my husband slept beside me. The lights were off and I watched the sun come up from my side of the bed. The midwife occasionally stopped by to ask how I was doing, but there were no intrusive checks every 10 minutes or wires attached to me or anything. It was all so (relatively, given that I was giving birth) easy. When it came time to push, a midwife filled up the tub and talked me through the whole thing. Another midwife came in to help at the very end and that was that. It wasn’t a parade of people coming in and out. It was just us and that was so nice. After about an hour, we were transferred to the ‘hotel’ across the hall. It’s just what it sounds like- a hotel room. It had a big, comfortable bed, and nobody disturbed us.
3) What surprised you about post-natal care in Norway?
I was almost surprised by how little attention we got during our stay in the hospital hotel. I don’t think anyone even came in for the first 24 hours. Again, I assume this was also because we were not first time parents. It was, however, the perfect way for us to spend those first few days. We felt so safe being at a hospital, but also totally comfortable.
4) Overall impression of pregnancy/birth culture
My impression is that people generally have good experiences with birth here, though it is very different than in the US. Looking back on it, I can see that all of the extra ultrasounds and checks of this, that, and the other, while they are reassuring at the time, they are not always medically necessary. And I survived a pregnancy without having all of them done. It was mostly because I had given birth in the US before, that I knew what I was missing. Had it not been for that (and the internet), it wouldn’t have bothered me much. Also, you can’t beat the price (free) 😉