June 3, 2014

Midwives from across the world attend congress in Prague

Written by Czech News Agency, via Prague Post

This post originally appeared on the Prague Post here.

Prague, June 1 (ČTK) — Czech participants in the 13th International Midwives’ Congress, which is taking place in Prague until Thursday, will be looking for greater support from politicians, including necessary legislation changes.

About 3,500 women from the whole world are participating in the event organized by the International Confederation of Midwives.

The first congress was also held in Prague, in 1925. The participants were then received by the first Czechoslovak president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, and the mayor of Prague.

Since the fall of communism in 1989, Czech women have been calling for the opportunity to give birth to their children at home only with the assistance of their midwife.

The law does not ban home births, but health insurance companies do not cover them. The woman must pay for the assistant herself. It costs some 8,000 Kč, according to available information.

The health ministry, the Czech Doctors’ Chamber, as well as the expert association of gynecologists and obstetricians, say home births are an unnecessary risk for both the mother and child. They underline the mother’s responsibility for the baby’s life, while mothers say they have a right to make a decision themselves.
Since January, women have been allowed to give birth to their children at clinics without a doctor, only with the midwife.

Unlike a home birth, the health insurance companies cover these kinds of births. The woman can be assisted either by a midwife employed by the maternity hospital or by her own midwife, but she must have a contract with the clinic.
Since last December, mothers have been able to leave the maternity hospital together with her child sooner than the recommended 72 hours.

The health ministry says a mere 5 percent to 10 percent of women want to give birth to their children at home, only with the midwife.

About 4,000 midwives provide their services in hospitals, surgeries and other facilities. Only a few of them offer assistance at home, paid by the mother.