At the Ísafjörður health care center, all pregnant women are invited to come to the midwife for maternity care, and the first examination is usually done when women are approximately 10-12 weeks pregnant.
Pregnancy protection has the purpose of supporting the health of mother and child as well as imparting education to expectant parents. It is extremely important because, although most pregnancies go well, it is necessary to identify possible deviations from the normal in order to ensure the best possible safety for mother and child during pregnancy, birth and delivery. The vast majority of women can attend examinations at general health care throughout their pregnancy, where a midwife will take care of them in collaboration with a health care doctor if necessary. If there are underlying problems or problems arise during the pregnancy, on the other hand, there is cooperation with Landspítali's high-risk pregnancy protection. Women with high-risk pregnancies who live in this area can therefore usually be here for pregnancy protection in collaboration with Landspítala.
There are usually 7-10 examinations during pregnancy, on average about three more examinations for women who are pregnant for the first time than those who have children before. Spouses of women are welcome to participate in inspections. If necessary, the number of examinations can be increased, and if women are worried about something special during pregnancy, they can always call the main number of the health institution on the phone 450 4500 and ask for an interview with a midwife.
In case of an emergency, there is a midwife's on-call number 860 7455. It can be, for example, bleeding during pregnancy, reduced movements or strong and regular contractions far before the due date.
All women can have an ultrasound scan at 20 weeks of pregnancy, where all the organ systems of the baby are systematically examined. Ultrasound during the second half of pregnancy is only recommended if there are any indications, such as underlying maternal diseases or signs of unusually slow or fast fetal growth. These ultrasound examinations are not available here and women have to go to Landspítala to have them, in which case the mother's travel expenses are covered by health insurance.
Many women also choose to have an ultrasound at 11-14 weeks gestation. At this time of pregnancy, some parents choose to have a fetal examination called an integrated probability assessment, where the probability of fetal chromosomal defects is assessed. This examination consists of an ultrasound scan and a blood test, and if a child is diagnosed with an increased probability of certain fetal defects, follow-up examinations are offered. Other parents are not interested in chromosome studies, but still prefer to have an ultrasound at this time of pregnancy. You can then go for an ultrasound, where the number of fetuses, gestational age and general appearance are assessed. These ultrasounds, whether with or without integrated probability assessment, are considered parental choice and not part of standard pregnancy care and are not free of charge. Health insurance therefore does not take part in travel expenses for them unless it is a medical indication.
The first examination in maternity care includes general education about lifestyle and health during pregnancy. In the middle of pregnancy, breastfeeding is discussed separately. In all views, women are encouraged to seek advice or support if they have something on their mind.
At 34-36 weeks of pregnancy, all women in maternity care are invited to visit the maternity ward and discuss the birth. Spouses are especially welcome. Childbirth education is provided regardless of whether the woman intends to give birth here on Ísafjörður or elsewhere.
Special childbirth education courses, breastfeeding courses or other courses related to childbirth or child-rearing have not been available here in recent years, but if parents can afford to attend such courses, there are many others available:
- 9 months – also courses in English
- The birch tree – also courses in English
- Birthplace Reykjavík – also courses in English and Polish
- Healthcare of the Capital Region – also courses in English
- Helga Reynis
Various types of education regarding pregnancy and childbirth can be found on the internet, but it must be noted that not all information is equally reliable and foreign sites often do not take into account the Icelandic health system. Here are some links that may be useful:
Interesting Instagram pages for expectant parents:
A midwife in maternal care offers support regarding various aspects of the mental and physical health of pregnant women. It is not uncommon for mental distress to occur during pregnancy or after childbirth, and the midwife can then refer women to a psychologist or doctor as appropriate. Social counseling is also available at Ísafjarðarbær for those women who need it. Women can either go there directly, or a midwife can mediate such a service.
Women of foreign origin have the right to interpreter services, and a midwife can also act as an intermediary.
If women have a history of trauma in life, the consequences sometimes manifest themselves during pregnancy and it is important to get appropriate support. If violence is present in intimate relationships, it creates one of the most serious threats that can befall a mother and her unborn child during and after pregnancy. Women who experience violence during pregnancy, whether mental, physical or sexual, are encouraged to seek help. A midwife is always ready to help women who have suffered violence and is bound by a duty of confidentiality regarding all matters discussed in maternity care, except when the Child Protection Act stipulates otherwise. You can also contact other parties directly, such as the police or non-profit organizations.
Updated 26 April 2022 (UN)