Women in Norway are free to choose which facilities in Oslo they would like to give birth. Both Rikshospitalet and Ullevål Sykehus (both part of Oslo University Hospital) have good maternity wards. However, most expat mothers agree that Ullevål Sykehus is the place to have a baby. It caters to mothers and their families with a hotel for visiting family members who want to be nearby for before and after the birth. There are several services provided to mothers directly after birth and new mothers are often sent home with a box full of necessities.
There are alternatives for birth, such as home or clinic delivery with a midwife. But it is highly recommended that mothers have the child at a hospital, especially women who show any risk factors. Some centres won’t allow first-time mothers in their facilities. Normally a mother will not have the same ObGyn or midwife through the pregnancy and birthing process. Whoever is on duty will take care of the mother and if her labour is long, she may see several nurses, midwives and doctors.
It doesn’t cost money to have a child in Norway. In fact, the government will pay for the hospital and hotel stay and once the mother has the baby, she will receive barnetrygd (child support) monthly from the government until the child turns 18.
Maternity leave and benefits in Norway
Mothers are by law given up to a year paid maternity leave, which they share with the father if he wishes. Mothers can choose to share up to six months of their leave with the father. Fathers are by law given three months of paternity leave and are expected to take it. It is very common to see men pushing strollers around the streets and parks of Norway and nobody looks twice - except perhaps newly arrived expats and immigrants. After the year is up, parents are guaranteed their same position when they return to work.
Special clinics for baby care (helsestasjon) are a unique part of the Norwegian health system. At these clinics, children under school age are weighed and measured on a regular basis and given the necessary immunisations. Nurses specialising in baby care and child development are available to answer questions and discuss any concerns a mother may have.