What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
How recently did you give birth in the country that you are reporting on?
Describe your experience giving birth there. What type of facility did you go to? What (if any) type of pain management did you use? How long did you stay in the hospital? Was it a positive experience? Etc...
My son was born at the public hospital in the city. From the very beginning we planned to give birth there, and we attended many classes/ info nights there while pregnant.
My birthing story was rather difficult. My contractions progressed very quickly and my water broke very early on. When I arrived at the hospital they had me in an exam room until I was far enough along to get an epidural. From the aforementioned info nights I knew that this particular hospital preferred for births to be as natural as possible, however they approached me about getting an epidural because they thought I wasn't dilating due to the pain. Unfortunately the epidural did not help the way they wanted it to, and they needed to give me oxytocin. 19 hours after my water broke they could see I still wasn't dilating fast enough, and they were having trouble monitoring my son's oxygen levels. At this point they did an exam that involved collecting blood from him to guarantee he was receiving enough oxygen. This test showed that he was indeed still receiving oxygen, but they no longer trusted their machines and they spoke to me about having a C-section. They recommended I get a C-section, but they said it was my choice.
After I gave birth my husband took my son to a private room for skin to skin time and I was taken to a recovery room. After a few hours I was taken to a shared room with two other moms and babies. I stayed in this room with my son until I was released from the hospital five days later.
I would say my labor was very difficult but overall it was a good experience at the hospital. The staff was very attentive, and they offered a lot of resources including a breastfeeding room with a consultant, recovering exercises with a physical therapist, food, and all the supplies we needed (diapers, swaddle blankets, pads for the moms, towels, etc.). My only complaint would be the visiting hours. In order to keep the ward from being too crowded they only allowed the fathers to visit between 10 AM and 8 PM, and other family members from 2 PM- 4 PM.
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How did you choose your doctor, midwife or other type of medical professional?
In Austria the system is slightly different. I was able to use my normal Gynocologist throughout my pregnancy, but he did not deliver my son. Here you go to your normal Gynocologist until you are 38 weeks pregnant and then you have your appointments at the hospital. Once you go into labor whoever is on duty (hospital staff midwives and doctors) will deliver your baby. This was a little strange for me, however the staff was very friendly and I did get to know them from appointments I had at the hospital prior to giving birth.
Additionally I did have a midwife that came to my house after leaving the hospital. I chose her based on an online database and interviews while pregnant. This is a free service in Austria, and it was amazing! She came to our house a few times after the birth to weigh him, check on my recovering, examined our nursery set up and showed us best practices, showed us how to properly use a wrap, etc.
If you were to have another child in this country, would you do anything differently in terms of preparation and/or the delivery?
For the most part I won't do anything differently. Most of the preparation and delivery was required by the Austrian medical system, and overall we were very happy. The only preparation we might not do is attending as many classes/ info nights. However a lot of friends I spoke to said they still attended a lot of those because things so often change (they are mostly free so it doesn't hurt!).
I also might consider paying for private hospital insurance, so I could have a private room. This would be nice so my husband and first son could come and go at any time rather than the strict visiting hours.
If a friend of yours living in the same country were expecting, what advice would you give her?
I would definitely recommend attending the classes/ information nights. For an international friend I would also recommend thinking about private insurance depending on how well they speak German. You have more selection of English speaking doctors and midwives.