Having a baby is one of the most exciting and scary things we do in life and that is when we are in our own countries. Having a baby in a new country can be even more daunting as you are navigating a different language, process and culture.
For many expat parents-to-be in Denmark this may be your first baby and you need a lot of help, advice and support in the journey through pregnancy and into the first year. Equally you may have other children but had them in your home country or somewhere else completely.
What to expect from the medical teams?
First step is to call your GP/family doctors once you have confirmed you are pregnant from a shop bought pregnancy test. You can get these in pharmacies and many supermarkets. Your doctor will ask you to come in for your first check up at nine weeks unless you are in a high risk group.
She will set up a secure journal for you online with your medical information and it will be used by your doctor, midwife, hospital and health visitor to record communication and notes from all your appointments. In theory this means that everyone involved knows all your information and you can also access it via Sundhed website. (https://www.sundhed.dk)
You will be asked to decide where to give birth and your doctor will suggest your nearest hospital with a maternity unit. After the first doctors appointment you will be assigned to a midwife team at the hospital where you will give birth. You can discuss how you want your birth to go, but in general midwives are fairly pragmatic and want you to think about all options.
You have your first midwife appointment between 14th and 18th week and then there are four to five further appointments, which you book with your midwife team.
Your doctors and midwives will talk to you about the kind of birth they believe is best including having a caesarian section and if it is the best for the baby or mum it will be suggested. You can also talk to your midwife about the possibility of a home birth, if that is something you would like.
You will get two ultrasounds one at 11 to 14 weeks and the second at 18 to 20 weeks.
The first scan includes a nuchal fold test for Down’s Syndrome, which you can choose not to have and the second is to determine the exact birth date and to look for congenital anomalies. You can ask about the gender at this scan.
There are other tests offered for women in high risk groups and your doctor and midwife will discuss this with you if necessary.
What to expect in hospital?
After the birth you spend the first few hours in the delivery room, if the birth has been straightforward, then onto the maternity ward or into the Patienthotel (where your partner can stay too).
When you are in the hospital usually all nappies and baby clothes will be provided by the hospital. The clothes are also laundered by the hospital. You just need things for yourself (whilst in hospital and to come home) and for the baby to go home in.
What to expect when you get home?
Once you go home your health visitor (sundhedsplejersken) will visit you within the first week to check on you and the baby. She will check your baby’s weight and also give you support with breastfeeding if you need this.
There are some after birth tests, usually two to three days after the delivery which can be done by the health visitor if you have gone home by that time. The first is a heel test (hælblodprove) to test for rare congenital diseases and then a hearing test (hørescreening).
Five weeks after the birth you need to take your baby for a check up with your own doctor and it is your responsibility to book this. There is an eight week check up for the mother, again with your own doctor and you need to make this appointment too.
The health visitor will make home visits at 4-6 days after birth, 10 days, 3 weeks, 2 months, 4 months (if it is your first child) and then at 8 months. Health visitors also organise group activities such as mothers’ groups and a parents’ cafe called Åbent Hus.
For more information visit the health visitor website for Copenhagen Sundhed (https://www.kk.dk/sundhedsplejen) or the one for your region.
This is an extract from the Dejlige Days Welcome Guide to Having a Baby in Denmark, which contains a huge amount of information including health, places to get stuff, activities, practical tips, bureaucracy and much more. You can buy the guide HERE
Welcome Group Consulting was founded by Karey-Anne who recognised the challenges expatriates experienced in settling into a new country dominated by unspoken rules. Welcome Group Consulting is a full-service relocation company founded to address not only the practicalities of relocating but also the issues related to Integration, that often occur after the physical move. Our mission is to change the way we integrate, and raise the quality of life, one person at a time. We proudly support sports and networking events designed to help establish links to the local community.
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