June 14, 2015

International Birth Story – Norway

Welcome back to the International Birth Stories series.   If you’re just joining us, make sure you check out the other testimonies in the seriesItaly, France, Australia, Germany, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Japan, England, Djibouti, Northern Ireland, Brazil. This week is our LAST story…Becky, with a birth story from Norway (the place I would probably choose to give birth if I had my choice!)  It’s been absolutely fascinating reading about all of these women’s experiences.  Stay tuned soon for a “summary” piece.

International Birth Stories thebestofbaby.com
Becky gave birth to a her third child in a public Norwegian hospital.  She notes that most, if not all, hospitals are public in Norway.
International Birth Story - thebestofbaby.com

Intro: What brought you to Norway?

I ended up here because my husband is Norwegian. We met in France 15 years ago and have been moving around ever since.

1.)  What surprised you about prenatal care in Norway?

 I was surprised by the relatively hands-off approach to prenatal care in Norway.  I was accustomed to a more interventionist approach to medical care in general, but there seems to be a very strong feeling here that because pregnancy is not an illness, it should not be treated as such. Perhaps part of it was that I was giving birth to my third child. The assumption was, I think, that I knew what to expect, how to read my own body, and how to proceed.

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) 😉

Rebecca is a photographer.  To view her beautiful work and follow her adventures, you can visit her photography site, read her blog, and follow her on Instagram.

 Thank you all of you who have followed along in this fascinating series of International Birth Stories.  Stay tuned for a summary piece in the coming weeks!

(I have some other birth/parenting series in mind…if you are interested in guest posting for Best of Baby, please contact me using the Contact form in the navigation bar)

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Iulia is a former educator turned stay-at-home mama of a spunky toddler and a squishy infant. With a touch of sass and a good dose of self-deprecating humor, she has an ever-expanding repertoire of bloopers, insights, stories, and impassioned opinions to share. Iulia likes to think she has this parenting gig figured out, but her littles remind her daily just how far from the truth that is.

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  • Sydneyv@yahoo.com'
    Reply Christina June 14, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    It sounds like such a wonderful experience!

  • zipperheadcreations@gmail.com'
    Reply Crystal June 15, 2015 at 12:06 am

    I have been a labor and delivery nurse for 14 years, and it is always amazes me at how much the birthing experience varies worldwide and even statewide. I have worked in several different states, and even amongst them there are differences. I have enjoyed the more natural approach with less monitoring for those who are low risk and use more testing and hands on for high risk mothers. Unfortunately, sometimes we do treat all pregnancy as an illness. I’m so glad that you had a wonderful birth experience.
    Crystal recently posted…Why You Should NOT Install Laminate Over LinoleumMy Profile

  • daffny@dontdareblink.com'
    Reply Daffny June 23, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    I think I’m the odd man out because I don’t mind all the checks. The wires are annoying, but for my last two necessary. That said, to be trusted to know your body is an amazing liberty! And the peaceful setting of the whole experience Becky has sounds so perfect and beautiful. I love it.

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    Reply Lorraine December 24, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    A good many valueblas you’ve given me.

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    Reply http://www./ December 25, 2016 at 2:56 am

    how to be a good writer. this…is mainly because good writing comes from experience. experiences fuel the creative thought process behind someone’s writing and they drive the creation of new written material.as you begin your process to becoming a better writer it is important to r…

  • ta11b53gf1n@outlook.com'
    Reply http://www./ January 29, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    That’s not even 10 minutes well spent!

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    Reply kridite bargeld kredit kreditkarte February 7, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Great insight! That’s the answer we’ve been looking for.

  • 7zur4wtuw@mail.com'
    Reply http://www./ February 28, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    This is a great start. I see you are open to many ways to hear from God, and most are not immediate. That’s good to know, it helps to paint a new picture (originally I had envisioned sitting at the whiteboard with a marker in my hand and waiting….and waiting….).

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