Pregnancy and childbirth are very beautiful and difficult experience at the same time. I need to mention here, that idea for this article “Pregnancy in Poland” comes from one of my colleagues: “Syed”. So, Syed, I hope that you will find this post useful. For the second, the subject of pregnancy contains many threads for discussion, therefore I divided articles in two: Before and after “the delivery”. Second part will be released this Friday evening. As I clarified this, I am getting straight forward to the bulleted list:
- How to choose a doctor?
- How to choose the place for the delivery?
- What tests should be performed during the pregnancy?
- Pregnancy – cost of medical care and giving a birth.
- Rights of the mum-to-be at work.
- Blogs to follow.
A doctor – Gynecologists-obstetricians and midwife?
Starting from very beginning. If you have a suspicion of pregnancy, you supposed to run pregnancy test. You may buy the test via internet, in a market or pharmacies. Regular price of it oscillates between 3 zł up to 50 zl. If the pregnancy is confirmed, whole process begins.
The first thing worth discussing are pregnancy checkups. You need to know, that regular doctor’s appointments and consultations with a midwife are necessary even if there is nothing wrong with the pregnancy. It is accepted that during the first seven months, you as a woman should visit the doctor once a month. During the eighth and ninth month, it should happen every two weeks.
In Poland, obstetric care is delivered by a gynecologist-obstetrician or by a midwife. It is worth knowing that in case of pregnancy, no zoning applies. You as a pregnant woman are entitled to choose the hospital where the baby will be born and the doctor who will care for you during the pregnancy. In theory, this means, that you can deliver wherever you want with a gynecologist referred by your best friend as well.
In practice, you need to remember that Gynecologists and midwifes are “just human beings” as well. So, choosing specific team for the delivery might not work out 100%. For example, it might happen that your gynecologist planned annual leave one year in advance, which covers perfectly with your delivery date. Anyway, men specialize as gynecologists-obstetricians more often than women. If you want your pregnancy to be managed by a woman, you should indicate it during the registration as a patient at the first point.
The place for the delivery
Statistically majority of the women in Poland give birth in a hospital, however, a home delivery is possible, and such deliveries become more popular. However, doctors strongly discourage that choice if there were even slightest complications during the pregnancy. You need to remember here, that the National Health Fund insurance (NFZ) does not cover the costs of the home delivery. This means that if you choose it, you will need to pay for it as well.
Once again, if you choose to give a birth in a hospital, you can choose hospital on the base of your preference or feedback from your doctor. I recommend choosing a place which would be easily accessible in case when the action starts. Also, have a visit in there. I understand, that right now in the era of COVID, it might sound difficult. If you can run any of the tests from section mentioned below, in hospital which you chose, I advise to do it. This way, when you will arrive there to give a birth, it will not be an entirely alien place anymore. I also advise to check what are the possibilities to get English speaking staff. Chances will be much higher in case of bigger cities.
I need to bring to your attention as well, that some of the private clinics offer service of “giving a birth”. Such option is not covered by NFZ and cost between 5 000 zł up to 15 000 zł. I will come back to it later in a part dedicated to the costs.
Tests during pregnancy
I noticed that pregnant women are great at operating with weeks and trimesters as we talk about pregnancy duration. Therefore, I am using a table below to list weekly wise “tests to be done” during the pregnancy.
|Before week 10 of the pregnancy||Medical history and general obstetric examination. During the appointment, the doctor should refer the patient for the following examinations: blood group and Rh, immune antibodies, blood tests, general urine analysis, smear tests, vaginal swabs, fasting blood glucose levels, VDRL, HIV and HCV antibodies, toxoplasmosis, and rubella. A checkup with a dentist is also advisable.|
|Week 11-14 of the pregnancy||Control visit. During this period, the attending physician should refer the woman to the following examinations: ultrasound (prenatal testing), urinalysis.|
|Week 15-20 of the pregnancy||Control visit. During this period, the woman should perform the following examinations: morphology, general urine examination, vaginal cleanliness examination.|
|Week 21-26 of the pregnancy||A follow-up visit during which the woman should be referred to a birth school. During this period, the following tests are performed: blood glucose test, ultrasound, urinalysis, anti-Rh antibodies in women with Rh (-).|
|Week 27- 30 of the pregnancy||A control visit and the following tests: blood count, urinalysis, immune antibodies, ultrasound.|
|Week 33-37 of the pregnancy||Control visit, referrals for: blood count, urinalysis, vaginal cleanliness test, HBs antigen, HIV test, culture from the vaginal vestibule and the anus area for the presence of B-hemolytic streptococci.|
|Week 38-39 of the pregnancy||Control visit, urinalysis, blood count.|
Cost of medical care and pregnancy in Poland
All tests mentioned above are the tests which might be covered from NFZ. Naturally, you have an option to manage majority of the them with subscription signed with private medical care providers as for example Luxmed or Medicover. If you would like to know more about NFZ, Luxmed or Medicover or in general about Health Care system in Poland, I encourage you to visit my previous post where I explained this in detail. Just click here to open it in new tab.
Except NFZ visit and subscription with private medical giants, you might reach out to your leading Gynecologists privately. The cost of such one private visit oscillates between 100 zł and 200 zł. Price does depend on the size of a city and specific doctor. As I mentioned already, giving the birth in Poland might be regulated on a few different ways. It is giving a birth:
- in a hospital which is covered by NFZ.
- at home, where all costs need to be covered by you.
- in a private clinic which charges on such service between 5 000 zł and 15 000 zł. Option which cost 15 000 zł contains mostly full package of prestige services, as beds with massage, cable TV with thousands channels and many more. My advice here is pretty simple. If you want to use such service, always ask what would happen with your baby and you, if things would get complicated during giving a birth. Would the clinic transport you to the nearest public hospital or are they really preapred for any situation?
The decision is yours. I do not have my own private experience with giving a birth but in case of recognizing by the doctors any kind of risk related with giving a birth, doing this at home would be the last option to choose by me. Summarizing the costs, I can say that regular pregnancy, which contains giving a birth, all necessary tests and medical checkups, can be fully covered with NFZ.
Rights of the mum-to-be at work
If you are pregnant women, you have particular rights and needs, not only with regard to healthcare. If you are employed in Poland under an employment contract then, regardless of your right of residence, you are entitled to special treatment at your workplace. Below you may find rights of employed pregnant woman working in Poland.
The employer cannot dismiss a pregnant woman;
Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding a child may not perform burdensome, dangerous or harmful work that may have an adverse effect on their health, the course of pregnancy or breastfeeding a child (as provided for in Article 176 § 1 of the Labor Code).
If a woman leaves work before discovering she is pregnant, she is entitled to cancel her notice of termination;
If a woman is employed for a specified period exceeding one month, which ends before the anticipated delivery date, the employer is obliged to extend it until the delivery date;
The employer may not change the working conditions or reduce the remuneration of a pregnant employee. The sole exception are mass redundancies at the enterprise;
In case of health problems, the employer should reduce the working time or the scope of responsibilities so that it poses no risk to the health of the mum-to-be. If necessary, the employer is obliged to grant the employee leave from work during the pregnancy;
Pregnant women may not work at night or overtime;
The employer may not require the pregnant employee to provide work outside the workplace without her consent;
The mum-to-be is entitled to leave work in order to perform medical tests for which she was referred by her doctor, if it is not possible outside the working hours;
In case of sick leave during the pregnancy, the woman is entitled to up to 270 days of sickness benefit.Source: infor.pl; migrapolis.pl
Blogs to follow
Actually, I will never be a pregnant mum. What comes with this, I will not be able to advice you as good as a woman who went through the same and has medical experience. I had to do a lot of digging to get proper material for this post. I did interview with fresh mums and asked what was most important in case of their pregnancy. Both ladies were pointing out blog: mamaginekolog.pl (mum – gynecologist). Blog written in Polish, by Nicole – Anna Golińska.
She gives a lot of useful information’s about “how to deal with typical women-ish issues related with pregnancy and your own body”. Nicole is not afraid to touch “embarrassing topics”, what makes her posts really honest and professional at the same time. I highly recommend reading it, not only to get advices from woman who is a mum and gynecologist but also to improve your vocabulary of a Polish language related with pregnancy.
Second blog worth mentioning is hafija.pl. It is a blog from Agata Aleksandrowicz and as author claims, it is: “The biggest compendium on breastfeeding and parenting”. Agata was repeatedly awarded and honored in the categories of socially responsible blogs. She is also the founder of the foundation and ambassador of social campaigns. This blog is dedicated for ladies just after giving a birth. It is written in Polish as well.
So, I bring these blogs to your attention, since this might allow you to understand “what is the atmosphere” around pregnancy in Poland. I mean the subjects of discussions in a community of “Polish Mums” nowadays. Both blogs are run by mothers highly experienced in their specialization and have hundreds of thousands of subscribers gathered over the years.
Summary of a Pregnancy in Poland part I
As I mentioned already at the very beginning, the pregnancy is extremely extensive and delicate subject. My focus in this part is to explain basic things which should be regulated “before the delivery”. In a second part (click here) of this miniseries post, I will go on with clarifying family benefits, leave after childbirth for both parents and the process of registering your little baby.
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https://www.gov.pl/web/zdrowie/ciaza-i-porod; wikpedia.pl; https://www.migrapolis.pl/; https://www.infor.pl/; https://mamaginekolog.pl/; https://www.hafija.pl/Source