Frequently Asked Questions
Is Stavanger a good place to have a baby?
Yes it is. The hospital is well equipped and has dedicated, highly professional and experienced staff.
Family values and family time have an important status in Norwegian society and maternity benefits and child benefits are good.
Breastfeeding rates are very high here and breastfeeding is well supported, appreciated, absolutely accepted and therefore commonplace.
Depending where you come from, the attitude towards pregnancy and birth can seem a bit relaxed but that is simply indicative of a healthy approach which sees these as a normal part of life and not as an illness.
The Birth Course costs money. Is it worth it?
I work hard to ensure that everyone gets what they need from the courses I give and I’m confident you will consider it money well spent.
My aim is to give you as much help as possible as you prepare for the birth of your child and you are also welcome to contact me for support and advice in the weeks afterwards.
Are you a midwife?
No. I’m trained as a Childbirth Educator with the National Childbirth Trust in the UK. The training is extensive and does cover medical information about birth but, as a lay person, I aim to give you a broader view than that of the medical profession and to help you explore feelings and emotions as well as the more practical information and skills related to birth and early parenting.
Is the Birth Course all about ‘natural’ birth?
The course is about informed choice – making sure you have the information you need to make the choices that are right for you and for your baby.
The emphasis is on the normality of birth but birth, along with newborn babies, is unpredictable so you need to be prepared for a variety of situations and to know what medical procedures are available to help you should you need them.
Can I have an epidural?
Yes. All the usual forms of pain relief are available at the hospital and you will be able to have an epidural (spinal anaesthetic) if you ask for one. You do not need to order or book an epidural beforehand.
What is the point of fathers attending a course – they aren’t any use at the birth are they?
Research shows that the support of a well-informed, loving person can have a dramatically positive effect on a women’s birth experience. This fact is known and acknowledged by the maternity staff at Stavanger hospital and fathers are encouraged to be actively involved in the birth of their child and certainly not made to feel like a ‘spare part’.
Fathers also find it particularly helpful to discuss what life may be like after the birth.
Will we find the course embarrassing?
I hope not. The course has to be honest and realistic otherwise it would be of little use to you. I work hard to create a friendly, safe environment in the classes enabling us to discuss down-to-earth topics in an easy and relaxed manner. In addition everything that happens at the classes is completely confidential.
Will the hospital staff speak English?
Just like the rest of Stavanger, most of the staff speak English but some are happier with it than others. It is quite alright to put on your birth wish list that you would like a English speaking midwife. It is extremely important that your midwife is someone with whom you can communicate well and she will also want to be able to communicate easily with you as this makes her job a great deal easier. Remember that, however good your Norwegian, you tend to revert to your first language during labour. If English is not your first language it is worth asking if there is a midwife who can speak your own language – there might be!
Can I have a homebirth in Stavanger?
It’s not common but is possible. The best people to contact are www.mamastork.no
Can fathers come to Baby Massage?
Absolutely. Dads are more than welcome. Also grandparents if they happen to be visiting.
At a Baby Massage class do you massage the babies or do we?
I never massage the babies. The main reason for massaging your baby is to enhance the bond between you so it would be pointless for me to massage your baby. I demonstrate the very simple strokes and routines using a doll.
What if my baby cries or needs a feed during a massage class?
Don’t worry at all. The classes may not be at a time which suits your baby’s rhythm. The point of coming to a class is not necessarily to do the massage there and then. I demonstrate the strokes on my doll, talking you through it and discussing with the class some of the theories and values associated with baby massage. You observe and practice with your baby only if they appreciate it. If your baby cries it may be because the massage is helping them to release tension and you need to respect this. You can attend to your baby’s needs whilst watching and taking part in the discussion and then practice at home at a time which suits you and your baby better.
Do I have to undress my baby completely for massage?
It’s lovely to massage a naked baby and that is what you would eventually aim to do. However some babies hate having all their clothes off so you can partially undress your baby or even massage them fully clothed if you want to. There are no hard and fast rules, you only do what you are happy with. The room will be very warm so that you can undress your baby comfortably and you may want to wear light clothing yourself so as not to get too hot.
I find it quite difficult to be punctual with a baby – does it matter if I arrive late to Baby Massage or Baby Singing?
Of course not. Get here when you can. Don’t stress.
What if I can’t sing: can I still come to Baby Singing?
Your baby loves the sound of your voice whatever you are doing with it and will love you to sing to them whatever it sounds like. I have no musical training whatsoever and I suspect my singing voice to be less than melodious but it doesn’t matter a bit. Enthusiasm and having fun are the important things.
Where are the car keys?
(Well, it’s a frequently asked question in our house!)
I think they are in my jacket pocket but I’m not sure.