Having a child

Even though Hungary offers universal healthcare, it is a common practice among pregnant women to have an obstetrician/gynaecologist (szülész/nőgyógyász) to follow their pregnancy and deliver the baby. In most cases while the pregnancy is monitored in the private practice of the selected obstetrician/gynaecologist, the baby is delivered in a state hospital. Giving birth in Hungary is medicalised which means that there is always an obstetrician present (a midwife is not qualified for this task). Home births are not covered by the national health system and are highly regulated. In the delivery room only one person, either the father or a helper, can be present. The Clinical Center of the University of Debrecen was the first hospital in Hungary to introduce this family-friendly policy. For this approach, in 1992 the Clinical Center was recognised by the World Health Organization as a ‘baby-friendly hospital’, the first of its kind in Hungary and Europe.

Health visitors (védőnő) facilitate the work of the obstetrician/gynaecologist and have a key role during the pregnancy period and also after giving birth. The tasks fulfilled by the health visitor range from teaching the methods of breastfeeding and performing organisational tasks related to vaccination to monitoring the status and development of premature and new-born babies, healthy and endangered infants. Once the pregnancy is confirmed, it is also the health visitor’s responsibility to issue a booklet (kiskönyv) in which all medical appointments and notes have to be recorded during the pregnancy. The list of Debrecen-based health visitors can be found on the following website.