January 30, 2023

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After the institutionalization of maternity care in the 1950s, there were at least 180 institutions where women could give birth. Today, there are only 45 left, according to midwife Berritt Mortensen. In the book “Barselbrølet”. How to create the best maternity care in the world? Part of the story is the breastfeeding work, which was almost epitomized by Dr. Gro Nylander, first president of the National Breastfeeding Experience Service. The campaigns have also been based on delivery rooms led by midwives, to enable partners to take part in childbirth, preparation courses and quality follow-up during the maternity period. The history of maternity care in Norway is full of battles, most of which concern quality, safety and care.

«Wherever possible, Norwegian healthcare companies spared.»

The fight is not over. But it met stiff resistance in Norwegian healthcare companies, who saved where they could. Moreover, resistance from there is often encountered by a layer of managers who either generally respond that cuts are necessary, or do not respond at all. In the spreadsheets of health authorities, there is not enough time to lie down after childbirth to start breastfeeding, or for services that provide more comprehensive care for healthy mothers, such as the ABC clinic in Oslo. The most important task for hospitals is, of course, that births be safe. Other goals may seem expensive, and they are obviously not desirable either. “Our task is not to create a maternity service for 32-year-old women with higher education from Olevol Hägby,” said Bjorn Atle Bjornbeth, director of the hospital in Oslo, when the clinic’s future was discussed before Christmas.

This is how you turn around It’s completely upside down. Because the fight for local maternity wards, the ABC clinic and length of stay are connected. It is about whether Norway should prioritize quality maternity care, which pioneers in women’s health have developed over decades. Or whether Norway should have the highest possible number of births per krone. In this case, we run the risk of private companies creating alternative offers alongside the public ones. It is safe to give birth in Norway. But good maternity care is about more than just survival.

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