Living in Finland

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Childbirth

In Finland, women usually give birth at a hospital. You will be given information about the hospital(s) in your area at the maternity clinic. If you have a municipality of residence in Finland, hospital care will be cheaper for you than for those who do not.

Home birth is also possible but it is not included in public health care services and it is not recommended. This means that parents have to make the arrangements for home birth themselves. Parents also carry the responsibility for the childbirth.

In most cases, the father accompanies the mother during the birth, but another relative or a friend can also act as a support person. If you wish, you can also ask for a volunteer support person to accompany you during childbirth. Volunteer support persons have been trained for the task and are called ‘doulas’. You can ask about doulas at your maternity clinic.

Most mothers in Finland give birth the traditional way. In most cases, it is the safest way. However, if this is not possible due to the baby’s position, for example, the doctor will make a decision about performing a C-section. If everything is well otherwise, the C-section can be planned beforehand. Sometimes labour begins normally, but for the sake of the baby’s health, an urgent C-section must be performed.

If you are afraid of childbirth, talk about it with the nurse and doctor at the maternity clinic. Help can be given for your fear, for example, at the Fear of Childbirth Outpatient Clinic (synnytyspelkopoliklinikka).

Maternity clinics and some maternity hospitals organise family training, which aims at preparing the mother-to-be and the entire family for the coming delivery and caring for the baby. Family training also gives information on how childbirth begins and when it is time to go to the hospital. If your amniotic fluid begins to flow or you have continual, frequent and painful contractions, call the hospital and ask if it is time to go.

When you go to the hospital, take along some clothes for the baby that are sufficiently warm for the journey home. If you intend to take your baby home by car, you will need a baby car seat (turvakaukalo).

Interpretation during childbirth

It may be difficult to get an interpreter for childbirth, because it is hard to know the exact time for it beforehand. Some interpreter centres are on call, when necessary, during weekends and in the evening and night time and also at short notice. You can find out more about interpreter services in your municipality at your maternity clinic. You can also make arrangements with the staff for your spouse or a friend who can speak a language that the staff understand to come with you to interpret during childbirth. Parents decide whether they want an interpreter. Read more on the Infopankki web page Do you need an interpreter?

Circumcision and childbirth

If you have had a circumcision (ympärileikkaus) before your arrival in Finland, an opening operation (avausleikkaus) will be performed in connection with childbirth. The operation can also be carried out during mid-pregnancy. You should tell the staff at the hospital about your circumcision beforehand so that it can be taken into account during childbirth.

linkkiNational Institute for Health and Welfare:
The handbook "We're Having a Baby"(pdf, 1,46 Mt)Finnish | Swedish | English