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What is your experience about giving birth in Poland?


k_ania 1 | 2  
24 Sep 2008 /  #1
Could you share your experience about giving the birth especially in polish hospital. I'm a midwifery student and would like go to Poland for my transition but before i would like to know little bit about it.
mbiernat 3 | 107  
24 Sep 2008 /  #2
My wife just did and it was very good. I am an American and I do not think they have such a goo focus on the individual like in Poland. In Poland she got, a room to herself, more by luck, a nurse came to visit us a couple of times at home after we brought the baby home. I would say all around very good.
Sonicsoul 2 | 3  
24 Sep 2008 /  #3
I just moved to Poland from the USA about 2 weeks ago with my wife (she is Polish) and she is 38 weeks along. We visited the hospital last week and my wife had to stay for a few days because her iron level was SEVERELY low. At first I was a little worried. It wasn't what I expected at all. My mom is a Doula and so I've been around the "birthing" world for a long time and I was surprised that you sleep in the same bed with your new born (it's only a single sized bed!) and there are several women in the same room as you in the recovery room. I'm used to the mother staying in the same room she birthed her baby in until she left the hospital.

On the other hand, you stay in the hospital a little longer here (which IS a good thing). From what I understand it's 3-4 days as where in the USA it's more like 2 days unless there are complications. After being there for a while though, I noticed that the nurses really take care of the mother (as well as the baby) which I found very comforting. I can't speak to the actual birth process here in Poland, but any day now I will experience it first hand! I will surely check back here and let you know how our experience went.

Also, it's worth to note that we will be having our baby in Kielce (I'll post the name of the hospital later....when I know it :) and I'm sure every hospital is different!!

~JR
pawian 179 | 16,322  
24 Sep 2008 /  #4
I assisted my wife at 3 births. The first one was in 1999 and we paid 500 zlotys for the privilege because it was some novelty then. The second cost us 300 zlotys, while the last one, in 2006, was for free. I still can`t believe it.
OP k_ania 1 | 2  
24 Sep 2008 /  #5
Thank you for your replay. I will really appreciate if you could send me more information about yours wife birth. I wish you and your lovely wife all the best.
beckyinjozefow 1 | 27  
28 Sep 2008 /  #6
I have 5 children. 3 in the states and 2 in Poland. Each was in a different hospital. I think I can compare the two countries, but as someone mentioned, each hospital is different.

My first in Poland was in 1994 and in Warsaw at the Institute of Mother and Child. It was when the dad being there was a "new thing" and very few hospitals allowed it. My husband was there for it. I had a midwife in a big room with what felt like a constant stream of people coming through. I did not like the fact that it was a teaching hospital and thus, each patient is a case...no privacy. As to the birth itself...

I spoke almost no Polish ("tak," "nie," "woda" were my three words at the time as we hadn't been here long and I wasn't learning very fast). I had been shown the hospital with a doctor who was supposedly going to be there when I gave birth (I was under the understanding they were going to call him.) When I did go in (about 10 pm), he said he wasn't coming in because he had a cold. ?? So, I had the midwife, who looked about 18 years old....OK...maybe 20. She was fine. She knew a few words of English like "push". We did okay.

They have a low intervention policy here, and I LIKED the fact that I wasn't wired to a bunch of monitors and such which just made me nervous in the states. I liked the fact that they told me to go take showers and spray the hot water on my uterus area during a contraction in order to help me relax. I REALLY liked that and it was much nicer than lying in a bed hurting.

I didn't like the fact that they told me after I'd been at the hospital for a couple or three hours that they were going to maybe give me something to speed up the process. I would have objected vehemently to that! it seemed more about them wanting me to get it over with than anything like monitoring or a need to hurry it up. My 2nd daughter was finally born about 2 am. No problems. over 8 lbs.

I didn't like the fact that they showed me a double room where I would be but then put me in a room with 6 women, with absolutely NO privacy curtain around the bed and a steady stream of husbands visiting and doctors (did I mention that it was a teaching hospital?)--As much privacy as being in the middle of Jerozolimskie! (that's how it felt!) Everyone can see as they examine the woman across the way. Very bad. I was SO glad to go home. I begged to go after 2 days of boredom. I really wanted to go. There was nothing to do except lie there. There was no tv in the room. I did not know I was supposed to bring my own water, juice, diapers, food, etc. Why would I think that? The food was completely inadequate for a new mom. They used cloth diapers. They kept the baby in a nursery til feeding time. But I can't complain. My only expectations were that I would be in a double room and I was in a room with 6 and of course, I expected privacy curtains! I was so ready to go home!

Oh yeah...when the doctor looked at me and told me..."see you next year".. I couldn't believe it. Two days after birth is NOT the time to talk to a new mom about another baby.

The admittance to the hospital felt like it came out of yesteryear. They had this big book of newsprint where they asked everything from my name to how old I was when I had my first period!!! (??? that was a new on me--had delivered 3 in the states and not had that one asked me ever). Cost at that time...about $230. For that I was grateful. The experience was not one of warm fuzzies. I felt very alone and the hospital was ugly, the experience was not "nice." However, it was not "awful" either. (My other deliveries in the states were more homey and the food was much better and the nurses came more often to check on me, etc.)

Scroll ahead 3 years. 5th child. 2nd in Poland.

I gave birth to him in Otwock. Noone spoke English there, but by this time I could speak some Polish. I also came prepared with something to do (some sewing and books), drinks, juices, and my husband brought in food. Once again, I liked the fact that they let me walk around during the time of labor. That was wonderful. In fact, the whole time, they let me walk around, get showers like in Warsaw, etc. I liked that and it helped with the pain of contractions. My husband was allowed to be there.

They signed me in a big book not unlike the one in Warsaw (this is in 1997)...I'd not seen a single computer entry yet.... It was a big book about the size of a huge registrar with paper like newsprint. I had a doctor who was on call. He came in for the actual birth. The actual birth was terribly "open"...a number of women could have been in there giving birth at the same time on a different slab. Thankfully noone else was there. I was SO thankful. I really didn't want to hear anyone else as there was nothing separating their slab/table from mine except a few pieces of equipment and maybe a szafa or two. Otherwise...no problems about delivery. No complaints because there was no one else wandering around I would not want other people wandering around hearing me while I was giving birth! They really need to work on the privacy and dignity aspect.

I missed obiad (delivered around obiad time and they didn't save it for me) and so was very hungry for kolacja since I had missed breakfast due to labor. Kolacja was completely insufficient for a new, nursing mom and one who is lactose intolerant (and one who can't stand warm milk and doesn't like white cheese!--I'm not even a picky eater, but it was one piece of thin white bread with some butter or margarine, and a slab of white cheese, and a thin slice of almost ham...) My husband brought in food. The food was really, really bad. Nothing "tasted" good. The hot chocolate was watery and not very chocolately and the food just completely inadequate. They used cloth diapers which they twisted somehow on the baby--they weren't soft and they didn't use pins. I thought it was pretty clever, but they didn't show me how to do it and I felt pretty stupid when I had to ask the nurse how to diaper my (5th) child!

They did not change our babies very often...they kept them in the nursery or beside our beds..whichever we preferred. I was in a room with 6 ladies and felt like the grandma. I was the only one having my 2nd child or more. I was 35--the rest were about 20. No privacy curtains around the beds.

I felt like the care was adequate, but only "just". I won't complain. The cost was 42 zl. for 2 days. Once again, I begged to be let out as I just wanted to go home! The nurse came once afterwards, but I didn't like that. I didn't want them visiting me at home since I didn't feel like it was any of their business what our home was like or where we lived.

Overall, my experiences were okay. The costs were CHEAP compared to the states. Once I realized that my expectations needed to be drastically lowered, I was okay. Delivery was not a "pleasant experience"...no special meals for the new couple, no homey delivery room, no nurses who really cared about you personally, etc. (at least I didn't feel that way) The level of care was sufficient. My children were born without problems, so I'm thankful. I felt like the cleanliness in the hospitals was sufficient, but without my contacts, I can't see super well, so maybe that was part of it. The hospital in Otwock was woefully ugly and in need of a paint job, etc. If I were to give them a grade, I'd say that the hospital in Warsaw in 1994 was a B and the one in Otwock was a C. However, because I knew Polish and had lower expectations, my experience was better in Otwock than in Warsaw.

If there is anything you want to know specifically, I'd be glad to answer. My children are now 13 and 10, so these experiences may be "out of date" by now. Everything is probably a bit spruced up and updated. Maybe they even have computers when the pregnant moms register into the hospitals now! ???

Personally, I liked the lack of gizmos and monitors, etc. I felt like I was more like in a birthing center in the states. Low tech stuff. But for me, it was fine.
Switezianka - | 463  
29 Sep 2008 /  #7
I have a friend who is pregnant at the moment and she decided to deliver her baby at home, assisted by an experienced midwife. I talked to her about it and I think you might find helpful what I learnt from that conversation.

In hospitals women are told to be lying while delivery. In fact it is not a natural position for labour and it makes it harder for the mother. Only for the doctors it's easier when the woman is lying on a bed. In a Polish hospital you've got no choice.

In all hospitals in my city (second biggest in PL), the babies immediately after birth are fed from a bottle. Despite the fact that the kind of milk the mother has just after the delivery is crucial for the baby's immunity system.

There is no privacy in most hospitals and you might come across a group of medical students or something.

So, she decided she doesn't want it that way and looked for an alternative.
OP k_ania 1 | 2  
29 Sep 2008 /  #8
Thanks for your replay, however I am a midwifery student and would be present with labouring women. You mention that your friend decided to give birth at home could she explain how this is possible and what are the regulations, if any?
Switezianka - | 463  
29 Sep 2008 /  #9
You mention that your friend decided to give birth at home could she explain how this is possible and what are the regulations, if any?

As far as I know, there are no regulations - a woman can just choose to have her childbirth at home, in a private clinic or somewhere else. But then, she has to arrange everything by herself and I don't think the costs are covered by the public health service. My friend read some books about it, found a a contact with a midwife with a long experience in home deliveries and she arranged things with her.
dhrynio 5 | 97  
17 Oct 2008 /  #10
I have given brith twice here in Poland...I am American. We went to the director of the OB department privately and therefore we paid him well beforehand, when we were at the hospital I was treated like gold. We also paid him a large sum after.

But I think it depends on where you go and what town you live in.

Where are you going to be living?

Also as for staying after the birth it was crazy for me too the have to stay for so long. I had a c-section both times and they made me stay for 6 nights for the first and wanted me to stay longer for the second. After 5 days I said I had had enough and they had better discharge me or I was walking out on my own.

Oh and be prepared to be fed very little afterwards. Make sure you family is prepared to sneak you some food in. The up side is that I got a huge amount of help with breastfeeding and it was a breeze.

If you have any other question feel free to email me as I don't check the forum very often.
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
17 Oct 2008 /  #11
I dont quite understand this whole privacy thing, we have maternaty wards in the UK some holding up to 12 women - okay there are curtains but that's it, no nurseries in the UK either, the baby goes next to mum and mum does everything from the get go...as for juice and nappies you supply your own - it's not a hotel you know ;-)

All in all hospitals in Poland sound exactly the same as the UK, apart from the fact nurses and doctors actually help the women without having to be given back handers!
Krakowianka 1 | 243  
17 Oct 2008 /  #12
My sister in law gave birth a couple months ago in Gdansk, and its a lot different than what BeckyinJozefow writes. Either times have changed a lot, or the difference is cause Gdansk is huge & more modern.

The hospital was new or updated, because it looked nicer than some of those in the US. She did have to share a room with other ladies. The weird part was that no one can come visit you to your room to see the baby. They have a big open room/hallway, and they bring out the baby and everyone stands around there. I thought that was akward.

Also, in Poland it still depends how much $$$ you give a dr for your care. If you give some extra cash, you get better care. That's what it boils down to. You want to make sure YOUR doctor is there when you give birth? Then you pay him extra to make sure he'll be there. No excuses of "he has a cold". You want less ladies in your room, you have some special requests, show the $$ and they are taken care of.

Technology is there, computers are hooked up... at least in Gdansk they were to my sis-in-law. She had a complication free birth. Not sure how it would go if problems arose, are they as prepared as US hospitals for all situations.

As for midwifery in Poland. I dont know how that will be viewed to be honest. People there lack medical care, takes a long time for most to get the true medical attention they deserve, so given a chance for problems, I dont know if the average Pole wants to do this at home.

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