How long can you expect to be in hospital and what will your stay be like?
Going into labour is different for everyone – it’s exciting but can be stressful. That said, about 100,000 babies are born in Sweden5 each year – so you’re in experienced hands.
Once you go into labour, you won’t immediately go to the hospital. You’ll call a labour coordinator who’ll arrange everything for you and ensure you arrive at a hospital that has a bed available. However, if you have a more complicated pregnancy there will be fixed plans in place, so everyone involved – especially you – knows what to expect.
The majority of families do get to have their baby at the hospital they choose. But even if you don’t, the labour coordinator will have shared your birthing plan with the hospital you do go to ahead of time. While you might not have the security of knowing where you’ll give birth ahead of time, when the time comes everything will be in place no matter where you go.
When it comes to managing pain during the birthing process, there are a number of options available. Epidurals are less common compared to the UK and USA. In Sweden, mothers are offered what’s called a “walking epidural” or “combined spinal epidural” which allows you to still use your legs and walk around.
Other non-medical pain relief options include heat, massage, and sterile water injections6, among others. You can ask your labour coordinator what the hospital offers when you find out where you’re going.
You’ll be looked after throughout the whole process. Once the baby arrives, some private hospitals have a hotel attached where you can stay to recover and bond with your new bundle of joy. The hospital will then issue your birth certificate for you to register the birth with the Swedish Tax Agency.
Lastly, sometime between eight and 16 weeks after giving birth, you’ll be invited to an aftercare visit. Here they will carry out checks on blood pressure, weight, and do a few blood tests. If you’d like an earlier appointment, get in touch with your midwife or the hospital.
Pregnancy and parenthood – cultural quirks in Sweden
As a new mum in a new country, what are the cultural quirks that might be helpful to know about?
It’s easy to assume that your baby will immediately be a Swedish citizen because they’re born in Sweden, but that isn’t always the case. Your child will only take on Swedish nationality if both parents are Swedish nationals.
Not to worry though, there are some things that apply to everyone – no matter their nationality. If you’re a mother using a pram, you get to ride the buses for free. This includes both mothers and children. And who doesn’t like free things?
When it comes to lifestyle changes, alcohol is not seen as acceptable to drink when you’re expecting in Sweden. But if you’re a coffee-lover you won’t be judged for sipping a latte while you’re pregnant.
Sweden is incredibly connected with around one in four children in Sweden with family roots in another country.7