Pregnancy and childbirth in Luxembourg
Pregnancy and childbirth is a difficult and extremely exciting process. It should be taken seriously and Luxembourg is up to this challenge.
Pregnancy and childbirth can be one of the happiest and most traumatic moments of your life. Especially if things don't go as planned. But should you be afraid of giving birth, especially if it happens in Luxembourg?
How to prepare for pregnancy
I had my oldest son in my home country. After we moved to Luxembourg, we started thinking about having a second child, but nothing worked out. One day, during a routine check-up with my gynecologist, I decided to ask how could I change the situation. We were kind of relying on chance, especially since we already had one child, so everything was fine. But this time I asked specifically. The doctor prescribed folic acid. Literally a month after I started taking it, everything was fine. Since a simple vitamin could fix everything, I guess the problem was not that serious.
The doctor's name is Agnessa Arakelyan, she speaks Russian. I went to see her because her office is near the house where I live. Also, it is more comfortable for me to communicate about medical issues in my native language.
Management of the pregnancy process
The first time, I couldn't even see the fetal egg. This meant that the ultrasound could not confirm the pregnancy. Then the doctor gave me a referral for an HCG test (human chorionic gonadotropin — a hormone that begins to be produced during pregnancy, Ed.). We met a week later and the ultrasound confirmed the pregnancy.
Already closer to the 12th week, I don't remember the exact dates, I was given a Carnet de Maternite. This is a notebook that I took to each appointment with the gynecologist. It also contains all the forms for all the services. There are three of them:
- Maternity benefit
It is paid if you have all the required gynecological exams. There are five of them. And another mandatory dental exam. Each time you get a stamp on the form;
- Birth allowance
Paid after the birth of the child;
- Visiting the pediatrician
It is paid if you do not break the schedule of doctor visits for two years.
Compared to Moscow, there were definitely a lot more visits. In Moscow, I just went to the gynecological clinic. I had to go every month, but we only did ultrasounds based on screening.
Here, too, I went every month, and they did an ultrasound every time. That's another important difference from Russia. In Luxembourg, the gynecologist has an ultrasound machine right in the office. In Russia, you usually get a referral, then you make an appointment and wait your turn. Or you go to a private clinic, which is what I did, to get a more detailed examination, pictures and all that.
I also had blood tests every month. The list of tests is quite extensive. The nice thing was that I didn't have to pay for the blood tests. Everything was completely free. By the way, they also did a blood test to check for chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, such as Down syndrome, Patau syndrome, and others. And that test was also free. Maybe it's because I'm already 35 years old and such procedures are offered free of charge.
I was referred to the Bohler Clinic to see Dr. Schtiber for the second-trimester screening. My gynecologist Agnessa, works with this clinic and all her patients give birth there. She used to deliver babies herself but later decided to give up the practice because it took up a lot of her time. Dr. Schtiber is very well known in Luxembourg and it's said that it's almost impossible to get an appointment with him.
At the end of my pregnancy, my blood pressure went up. It was dangerous, so I spent two nights in the prenatal clinic. They did regular check-ups to make sure the baby was doing well, prescribed medication for my blood pressure, made sure it was working and then discharged me. But three days later I went back and gave birth anyway)
Childbirth and preparation
In Bohler they offered me stimulation, but I refused because I had a very traumatic experience. I gave birth to my first child in Moscow at the Kulakov Maternity Center, which is very popular and has many positive reviews. It is possible to get there for free only through quotas, for example, in exceptionally dangerous or complex cases, so I had to pay. I chose this clinic carefully, paid for the delivery, and it was a terrible experience.
Everything went wrong, I had a stimulation and they didn't allow me to get up during the whole process. They shouted at me! I paid to experience the full charm of giving birth under compulsory health insurance in the nearest maternity hospital. As a result, the baby was born with hypoxia, and they had to deliver him by force, which was very dangerous. He needed neonatal intensive care. It seemed like they had everything under control, but it didn't go as planned...
So I refused the stimulation and didn't sign a contract. However, there are a number of mandatory procedures. For example, after the 35th week, I have to see an anesthesiologist. The doctor explained the types of anesthesia available and asked about my previous childbirth experiences.
Shortly before that, the doctor who will deliver your baby was also scheduled to see you. Unfortunately, Dr. Schtiber was on vacation at the time, so another doctor examined me. I started to panic: the birth was coming and I remembered how it happened in Moscow. I went to the doctor and said: "Let's do a cesarean. I don't mind, just take the baby out of me and we'll be done. I can't give birth myself, I don't know how to do anything!"
He didn't try to reassure me at all. In the end, when I went to see the midwife, I was in tears. And she was the only one of the medical staff who calmed me down. She calmly explained to me that this was not the way they did things here and that it would never happen again the way it happened the first time.
In general, unless you have a medical condition or complications, don't even try to ask for a cesarean section. They insist on natural childbirth here.
Back to the hospitalization story. I am discharged from the hospital on Friday and have a routine visit on Monday. They take my blood pressure and was high again. The doctor checked the baby, said it was still early and everything is fine, and sent me home.
In the evening the contractions began. And quite intense, with little intervals. And I didn't know how it happened, the first time I didn't have them — I was stimulated! My husband and I looked at each other and decided that these were training contractions, but we decided to go to the hospital and take painkillers to sleep. All the way there we were sure it was just a training contraction.
We arrived at the hospital at 9 p.m. Everything is closed, we enter through the service entrance. I was immediately put into a wheelchair and taken to the examination room — 8 centimeters of opening!
"Give me anesthesia!"
"It's too late, you'll give birth like this."
"I can't do this!"
"Yes, you can!"
At first, I laid on my back, but it was uncomfortable. I was allowed to take the position I wanted — on my knees. The birth was quick and I spent a total of 15 minutes in the room :)
Of course, my husband and I weren't prepared for this. He went to the car to get our things and then they came running to him: "Your wife is in labor!" Dressed as he was — jacket, boots, jeans — and he came into the room and saw our daughter being born. Then he cut the umbilical cord, and the child was given to me. We also brought our son, we have no one to leave him with. He talked to the nurses in Luxembourgish.
In short, if you want a partner birth in Luxembourg, you don't even need to ask anyone. They are very much in favor of it and support it in every possible way!
By the way, doctors often speak several languages, including English. So don't be afraid of being misunderstood!
How postnatal care works
My situation is a bit unusual. The labor was very easy and quick, there were no injuries, no tears, and the baby was completely healthy. We spent some time in the maternity ward, the doctors came from time to time to check if there was any bleeding. Then I was taken to the maternity ward with the baby: she was not even taken anywhere.
We spent the night together. In the morning, the doctor came, checked my and the baby's condition and asked me when I would like to go home. I answered that the sooner the better, and I was discharged the same day. At 9 p.m. I came to give birth and at 11 a.m. I was already at home.
Before we left, my daughter was examined by a neonatologist. On the third day, we came and had a blood test for diseases that, the earlier they are detected and treated, the better the prognosis. Usually, they don't send the results. That is, if you have not received a letter with the results of the tests, then everything is fine.
A week later we went for an audio analysis. That's when they check the child's hearing. I saw the equipment in Russia and it was very big. Here they checked both ears with a small device with an earphone, said everything was fine, and let us go home.
I really liked the fact that here you don't have to go for checkups. You lie in the ward, the doctor comes to you, if he needs equipment, he brings it with him on a cart, checks everything and leaves.
The food in the hospital is also excellent. When you go to your room, they give you a menu and you can choose your diet for the week. That is, a snack, a main course, a dessert, and even a drink: it can be tea, coffee, coffee with milk, or herbal drinks — you choose everything. All in all, very cool.
How much does it cost to give birth in Luxembourg
There is a difference of opinion about this. I know that some people have not received any bills at all for gynecologist appointments, hospital stays, etc. I received those bills recently!
Of course, we paid everything immediately, and I sent the checks to CNS to be reimbursed for most of it, and I will send the rest to the Caisse Médico-Complémentaire Mutualiste (CMCM). This is secondary insurance that I took out as soon as I found out I was pregnant. It is very useful because I did not have to pay for a single room.
To be honest, I was expecting a bill for just a single room. It came to me, but I didn't even pay anything. I just sent it directly to CMCM, they take care of it themselves. But here came the regular bill. I didn't have the anesthesia yet, so that would have been included in the final check :))
It turns out that giving birth in Luxembourg is not as scary as I thought at first!
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