Monday, June 13, 2005

You're pregnant in Helsinki - now what?

Finland offers a very comprehensive pre-natal care system for its citizens and residents. Choosing to start a family in Helsinki is very comforting!

When we decided we would like to start our family, I first visited a private clinic for a pre-pregnancy check-up and discussion. I chose a local Diacor office just because it was close by and I was able to combine it with the annual ob/gyn visit my employer paid for. So this required first getting a reference from my office health clinic. During the visit I ran through a list of questions with the doctor who also performed an internal exam and did an ultrasound to check with condition of the cervix and uterus. She did not recommend any pre-natal vitamins or even folic acid because "all of this should be available in the healthy diet Finns eat." I, however, have taken multivitamins all my adult life decided to continue with the LadyVita tablets for expectant mothers (they contain no Vitamin A) and with 400mg folic acid supplement which is highly recommended to ensure healthy spinal and cranial development.

When I thought I was pregnant, it was off to the local pharmacy for a home pregnancy test which to our delight was positive! :-)

I then checked the Helsinki city home pages to find my maternity health center. When I gave them a call, the first question was if this was a desired pregnancy or not. From there I was put in touch with the midwife who covered our area (determined by street address) to make an appointment.

The first appointment was mostly spent getting the basic information down. But, I was surprised they did not perform their own pregnancy test; it was enough that I had a home pregnancy test. She also asked me to chose which hospital I'd like to give birth in - Kätilöopisto or Naistenklinikka. I didn't know much about either, but chose Kätilöopisbecauseuase it offered family rooms where dad could also stay overnight.

What happened from then on is outlined in another posting - Highly Satisfied with Finnish maternity clinics

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