Last updated on September 9, 2019
So, some of you probably are pregnant in Poland and you are wondering what to do in this foreign country. Let me tell you a little bit about my personal experience in terms of choosing a doctor, hospital and doing the medical exams 🙂
Choosing a hospital
This was for me the biggest thing and I would recommend for you choosing it as soon as possible. The criteria I took into account while choosing a hospital were:
- proximity (you do not want your hospital to be too far away from home)
- quality of the doctors
- opinions about the hospital
There is a really good website called GdzieRodzic were you can compare the hospitals and read opinions of other women. The only disadvantage of this website for foreigners is that it is only available in English. You might, therefore, need some help of a Polish speaking person. It compares the hospitals taking into account the following criteria:
- the venue itself
- quality of after childbirth care
- quality of care during giving birth
In addition to that, you can also check such information as how many C-sections were conducted, incisions of the crotch etc.
What I did as well is to look for the opinions of other mothers here in Poland. I joined several Facebook groups such as Mama 2017/2018/2019, Zostane Mama w 2018/2019 etc! But there are many of them really 🙂 You then just start a topic and ask other mothers for opinions!
Choosing a doctor
Ok, so you have chosen a hospital so what next? :) So, I would recommend you choose a doctor from the same hospital. It is very convenient as the doctor will tell you straight away what is required by the hospital such as medical documentation, who to choose as your midwife etc.
Having your doctor/midwife in a hospital is very useful especially in case of giving birth naturally. This is due to the fact that some of the hospitals tend to get really full and if they are full (all beds are taken), they can send you to another hospital. And I guess if your contractions have already started, the last thing you want is to be sent away to another hospital.
If you sign a contract with a midwife from your hospital, you normally have to pay her privately for the service, something between 1000-1500 zl but your chance of being sent away is very limited. Of course, this is not obligatory to get a private midwife. The hospitals in Poland are mainly public
I know some people also pay for their doctor to be with them during giving birth. In my hospital when I checked it costs 2600zl. The way it works is that once your water break you call either your midwife or doctor and they will straightaway go to the hospital to meet you there.
Natural birth vs C-section
Why am I talking about natural birth in the previous section mainly? This is due to the fact that in Poland you cannot choose whether you want to give birth naturally or via C-section.
C-section is only carried out in strictly described circumstances and need to have a medical reasoning such as
- glacial employment of your baby
- lack of progress with a natural birth
- the weight of the baby over 4,5 kg
- problems with your eyes such a degeneration of the retina of your eye
- previous C-section etc
As you can see, the reasons are very specific and need to have medical recommendation underpinning it. If you, however, have one normally you will get your appointment scheduled in your hospital for a specific date in advance.
The doctor is going to tell you when and at what time you should appear for the registration as well as he will give you an indication of what to bring with you on the day.
*Note – this might be changing further now. From what I have heard, the previous C-section might not be enough reason to have the C-section with your second child. It would be, therefore, the best to check with your doctor and hospital to see what is the current procedure.
You need to expect to be taking a lot of different exams during pregnancy!!! Pretty much for every meeting with my doctor (happening more or less once a month) I had to do either some urine tests or blood tests. During your first visit with your doctor, you will receive a pregnancy booklet where your doctor will be writing down all of the important exams taken during your pregnancy, your weight etc.
As I mentioned I had to take various exams all the time, at least once a month as the doctor was checking the progress of the pregnancy.
I would like to list some of them for you that you know what to expect:
I did 4 of them and I took all of them with me to the hospital. The first one was at the beginning of pregnancy – 6th week. Afterwards, I took 3 – in the 12th week, 29th and 37th.
I did a lot of them. The last one I had to take in the last week of pregnancy and you need to bring this result with you to the hospital.
Similar to the previous one. I took a lot of them. The latest exam I took with me to the hospital.
You do it only once and it is necessary to bring ORIGINAL to the hospital. It cannot be a printed version so you will need to pick it up from the clinic directly.
A test to be done by your doctor. It will be done once towards the end of pregnancy. Obligatory for the hospital.
Load test glucose
This was probably one of the worst tests I had to take. I am not the biggest fan of sweets and basically, you need to go to the clinic early in the morning. Firstly they take a sample of blood, then you receive a cup of sweet glucose to drink that you can drink with one cup of water. You need to wait for one hour and after one hour they will take another blood sample. After that, you need to wait for one more hour in order for them to take your blood for the final, third time. Then finally you are free! Of course, except for this one cup of water, you cannot eat or drink anything during this time. I felt really sick and wanted to throw up but I managed to stop myself from throwing up by spilling cold water on my face. If you throw up, you will have to repeat the exam another day.
What to expect in the hospital
So, let’s say you have already given birth and you are in the hospital.
Length of stay
Normally after natural delivery, you will have to stay in the hospital for 2 nights and after C-section for 4 nights.
Where you will be located is highly dependent on the hospital. I was in the hospital for the majority of the time in a single room, however, there were also rooms for 2 and 3 women which, of course, offer you less privacy. Some hospitals allow you to book a single room so you might want to check it with your hospital if there is such a chance.
Majority of the hospitals do not allow night visits so you will need to only count on yourself and the nurses. For example, my hospital was allowing visits between 8 am and 8 pm.
You can expect medical check-ups usually in the mornings. In my case, there was a separate doctor for my child and a separate one for me.
There will be food provided but it is normally limited to 3 meals per day. If you have a C-section you can also expect that probably on the day you have your operation you won’t be allowed to eat anything. You also have to drink a lot once in the hospital so I will recommend you have a couple of bottles of water with you.
If you want you can also book a private care as well as for the time of your natural birth as well as for aftercare service. You normally have to pre-book it so if this is what you want I would not hesitate and I will arrange it as soon as possible. You can expect prices of over 1000 zl for the private nurse for the time of giving birth and around 500 zl for aftercare service. The prices depend on the hospital and are usually available on the hospital website.
Hospitals normally offer private parking services on their premises. I would recommend it especially for the day when you pick up your child from the hospital as you do not want to carry your baby for too long especially in the winter months.
I hope this article helped you a little bit about what to expect and what the whole process looks like. I wish you, of course, all the best and I hope that everything goes smoothly for you and the way how you expect it!
If you would like to read another article about the similar topic, you should check, for example, Maternity Leave in Poland!