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Childbirth Poland

My wife struggled for hours and hours in extreme pain before finally delivering a boy of 3.9 kg early this morning. No pain killers were given and a huge number of stitches were needed to finish. No doctor was present until the very end.

Do they not give caesarian sections in Poland?

Does all this seem normal?

Are gifts to the nursing staff usual?

Re: Childbirth Poland

Victor firstly congratulations!

There is probably a serious shortage of doctors and nurses as many have gone to work abroad.

As for a doctor being present I did not think this was a requirement for most births. I know that in the uk a midwife looks after the mother, only if there are complications (if mother or baby's life is in danger) will a doctor be involved and then an emergency caesarian may take place. If a woman wants an epidural she has to decide this early on in labour. Childbirth is no piece of cake and every woman is different, nature generally takes its course and it is painful (I have heard the term "shitting a football" used to describe it). When my mother gave birth in both Poland (during communism) and the UK she was raving about how wonderful it was to give birth in the UK. However recent press reports would suggest this has gone downhill because of a shortage of midwives. A colleague who gave birth last year had a similar experience to your wife. Others have no problems - it varies with the hospital.

I hope your wife is feeling better now and that your little boy is healthy and happy. What will you name him?

Re: Childbirth Poland

Good size baby. Congratulations!

Childbirth is unpleasant, but the women get over it because nature programmed it that way. Normal pain we experience we remember with great clarity and trauma - childbirth pain is unlike that because the brain is designed to block out the traumatic memory. The upshot is that women remember that it was extremely painful, but can't recall the pain in the usual traumatic way. My wife, for example, remembers with great clarity the pain of early-days breast feeding but suffers no trauma as regards childbirth pain.

C-sections are no fun either - it is actually quite major surgery.

As for pain relief, well, some pain can't be relieved too effectively.

Doctors tend to be useless at childbirth - midwives are better.

Re: Childbirth Poland

How about the gift giving?

A collegue says this is a must do in Poland. Is this true?

The stitches were horrific.

Names: something English. Long term Poland isn't for us. Maybe it's a good placve to retire :)

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Yeserday one of the nurses told my wife that the child will be registered as Polish on the hospital forms as there is only space for one nationality. Does this make any difference?

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Medical staff are paid a pittance, but gifts are optional. More useful if you get something out of it ... or plan to go back!

I had a nurse hired for an overnight shift, otherwise we paid nothing and gave nothing.

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Police broke up a demonstration by nurses in the streets of Warsaw on Wednesday. Nurses have been protesting in the capital for the past two days over low pay and blocked the street in front of the Prime Minister’s Chancellery.

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Handwritten signs all over the hospital with the word strake - I presume strike?

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Just got a text from my wife to bring - mug, fork, knife, and plate. Is there no cutlery in Polish hospitals! Will check back here again later.

Thanks for all advice.

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Congratulations Victor - where is this happening?
i had my son in a Gdansk hospital 4 years ago.
good and bad experience.
and i know from talking to others that the experience varies greatly from 1 hospital to another in terms of support and pain relief.

cutlery there was - if you wanted to eat what was on offer. she might gag a bit at what will come round on the slop wagon.

have you been allowed 'in' yet? you might find yourself banned from the room and forced to meet your family in a 'meeting' room.

Re: Childbirth Poland

p.s. when i was told to "lie down here" while in labour, I thanked my lucky stars I wasn't intending to push baba out. it seems to be a "shut up, lie back and put your feet here" type of country ...

omg just remembered ... Warn your wife that the nurses will burst in every morning, grab your son and wash him under the tap. I'm not kidding ... on goes the tap, under goes the baby ...

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Chipped mugs.

I loved being brought some roast chicken fromteh supermarket next door to my morgue of a hospital.

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roast chicken? i was on nil-by-mouth for what felt like days after the nightmare section ... long enough to eat milk soup with relish.

Victor ... ?.... has anyone warned your wife about MILK SOUP ?

/excuse me ... i need time to breathe deeply/

Re: Childbirth Poland

I believe Victor's wife is Polish. Would this help in her acceptance of hospital Milk Soup ?

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Thanks to all for the useful points to think about.

What's all this about stitches ?

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Hans ... you will learn oh so much you never wanted to know about
now go google "perineal tears" and feel happy you were born a man.
(my doctor in canada used the logic that a proactive cut always had to be 'long', whereas a spontaneous tear *might* be short.)

i had sections each time

Re: Childbirth Poland

Strangely - my dad passed a viva at medical college on that very subject.
The consultants argued fiercely while he just sat and listened.

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Victor - is there some Meldrew connection?

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I like milk soup. I've only had it years ago in 1980. I wasn't used to it at all but I thought it was yummy.

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let me guess .. .it was made with loving hands.
the stuff i got had flour+water lumps the size of small animals in it...


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flour? hmm don't remember that. Mine was just pasta shapes with hot milk and sugar. It was on a holiday week at the seaside and we ate in a sort of restaurant place which was all part of the communist package.

Speaking of which I remember that there used to be some arrangement during communist times where parents would eat a late lunch during the working week with their family at a sort of communal restaurant. It was called a Stolowka or something like that. There were also places to drop off your babies (zlobki). No stay at home mums in the workers' paradise. I wonder what happened to all that....

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grandmas rule even more supreme now

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"Hans ... you will learn oh so much you never wanted to know about
now go google "perineal tears" and feel happy you were born a man."

"Perineal Massage
What is perineal massage?
Perineal massage is the gentle stretching and massaging of the perineum (skin between the anus and vagina) during the last few weeks of pregnancy. This has been shown to reduce the incidence of episiotomy and perineal tears during childbirth.

Why does perineal massage work?
Perineal massage does not "lengthen" the tissues of the perineum. However, it does increase the stretch in two ways.

First, perineal massage is done with a cold pressed oil, which lubricates the tissue making it softer, more supple and improving is flexibility. This makes it easier for the tissues to stretch as the baby is born.

Second, perineal massage familiarizes the mother with the stretching sensations she will feel as the baby is born. This helps her learn to keep her perineal area relaxed during the stretching of crowning which can help prevent tears.

How do I do it?
Perineal massage can be done by the mother or her partner. The mother should be in a comfortable place, sitting or reclining in a way that gives access to the skin around the vagina. It can be done for up to 10 minutes a day during the last four weeks of pregnancy.

Wash hands thoroughly. Ensure there are no sharp or long nails that may scratch the mother.

Locate the perineum, directly below the vagina. It is the skin between the vagina and the anus. Apply some cold pressed and pure oil (such as olive oil) to this skin.

Place the thumbs at the base of the vagina, allowing them the slide inside the vagina (to about the first joint) moving some oil with them.

Using gentle but firm pressure, move the thumbs from the base of the vagina up the side walls as if you were making a "U".

Return the thumbs to the base of the vagina, and repeat procedure.

As the mother becomes more comfortable with the stretch, you may increase the amount you stretch the skin.

Some sample perineal massage techniques:
The mother may perform perineal massage as part of her daily bathing routine, before her bath or shower.

The mother and partner may enjoy the stimulation of perineal massage before intercourse.

The mother may perform perineal massage as part of a nightly relaxation routine before going to bed."

An MSN search result, not google.

Re: Childbirth Poland

The result of more researchg:

I was recently attending a woman giving birth when during the second stage the perineum opened and then stretched forward over the baby's head as it crowned, giving the appearance of a head coming through a polo-necked jumper. I'm sure other midwives have seen this occur in some women as I have, and though I have in the past feared that the women would suffer much bruising, I can't recall any adverse effects, though the baby's head can sometimes seem to be crowning for ages.

However on this occasion perineum was intact, but on further examination there was a deep vaginal wall tear which appeared to extend deeply so that it was very close to the wall of the bowel (though not the anal sphincter as it wasn't as low down as that).

I requested examination by a midwife more experienced than me and she felt it necessary to refer to a registrar. After close exam in theatre(!) the consultant also had a look and in the end decided they should perform an episiotomy in order to better repair the vaginal wall, though the anal sphincter was not involved. I visited the woman later and she seemed well, as I hope she continued to.

I discussed this with a couple of midwives at work who asked if I would do an episiotomy in the same situation again. I have always believed that I would not do an epis. unless for severe fetal distress as research as far as I was aware showed that this was the only indication. I must admit though that, since qualifying 5 years ago, I have never found a case where any compromise to the baby occured with the head on the perineum when delivery without episiotomy wasn't imminent anyway! So perhaps this only applies to those who would perform one on an unstretched perineum. No I don't think I would, was this a one off, has anyone any comments, ideas? I would be grateful as I've pondered this long and hard.

It's truely amazing what one can learn as a member of our discussion group .

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Hans perhaps you have had enough education for one day but if you want more horrid stories about childbirth related conditions then google "prolapse"... not for the faint hearted!

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and after my 2 hour caesarian section in Gdansk, I got to lie flat with The Sandbag on my upper abdomen for 6 hours or so.

not joking on that one. just as well Junior was handed to me wrapped up like a parcel (complete with string tied round his middle) ...

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just seen the nationality question.

Victor - my son was born here and has one of those Polish birth certificates. So far we haven't had any problems - we used it successfully to get his UK passport.

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The stitches horror appears to be almost universal. I had the recent privilege of spending some time on a newly refurbished maternity ward (as an observer) and all the women there seemed to have had reconstructive embroidery done .

If anyone is interested there's a photo of the delivery room here:

target="_blank">Polish Hospital

As you can see the facilities really are super - at least in this particular hospital!
They even had a seperate adjoining room with giant bouncey sit-on balls (space hoppers); perfume oil burners; and comfy sofas for husbands to sit and watch .

Re: Childbirth Poland

this idea of a 'delivery room' is interesting. i had my first baby in Vancouver and there 'everything' happens in your room. you labour, give birth, recover all in the same room - with en-suite (and couch for Father to spend the night).

Re: Childbirth Poland

Yes, that was how imagined it to be, until seeing it first hand. In this hospital, at least, the women stay in 2 bed narrow rooms and are taken to the delivery area when the contractions get very strong.

"with en-suite (and couch for Father to spend the night). "

There was one of these. Patients paid an extra 60 zł for this. And obviously as there was only one, if someone else was there before you, you were out of luck. The delivery itself still took place in the separate room.

Re: Childbirth Poland

An additional point: in this hospital, the rule on the wearing of blue plastic bags over outside shoes was strictly enforced. A very large woman would appear from a room and run after offenders shouting 'ochrona' or similar, drag them to a machine on the wall where you would have to pay 1 zł for the plastic bags, and fit them while she watched .

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Things like plastic shoe covers will be for infection control and that is also why they never used to like people to visit. They make you put on plastic coverings in intensive care in the UK. I wonder if Poland has a high mrsi rate.

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Things like plastic shoe covers will be for infection control I guessed that .

For the delivery itself husbands also had to stump up 10 zł for the use of a plastic apron.

Are the space hoppers fairly standard in the UK?

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"Are gifts to the nursing staff usual? "

Yes, but, as Varsovian says, there's no real need to follow suit.

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I was alone with my wife for most of the birthing - the midwives were a bit stetched that night: 9 women and 2 midwives.
Errr, sweatshirt and jeans, and trainers with no blue plaggy bags.

2nd time round we had a midwife, but no warm place to keep baby, so my sweatshirt (the same one as before) came in handy to cover the little mite.

Pembury Hospital, Tunbridge Wells :)

Re: Childbirth Poland

i've mixed feelings over the blue bags. and the restrictions on visiting in the room.
i guess any way of keeping the place quiet and reasonably clean was worth it. (do you really want to live with clod-hoppers coming in from the farm with duck shit still on their shoes?)
more than 1 shower/toilet for all the new mothers would have been good.
but then again my room was mopped out twice a day (by a delightfully friendly middle-aged lady who had lived in Montreal - we communicated in French )

Re: Childbirth Poland

Update: Mother and baby doing well. However, bizarrely the Polish grandparents wouldn't hold the child when they visited. Mother-in-law said he was too young. Can't be usual, can it
Didn't need the plate, but knives, spoons, forks, and mugs are not provided. Nor is toilet paper . The food stinks.

Re: Childbirth Poland

where is this happening?

north of Wroclaw.

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"bizarrely the Polish grandparents wouldn't hold the child when they visited. Mother-in-law said he was too young. Can't be usual, can it "

I've never heard of this.

Maybe she was nervous. Some people are nervous about the baby's head or of hurting the baby if not held right. Perhaps she had a bad experience when she had a baby and still worries. Maybe she had post natal depression.

Re: Childbirth Poland

Victor - live through these few days and soon you'll be a family at home. I hope you don't have too many ideas about this child-rearing process because there are a few differences between here and everywhere else

Meanwhile, don't let the nursery staff bully your wife - mine had their own ideas about where he would be at night and what they would feed him. Baba and I fought and won in the end (enter rattled night nurse stage left with 2 day-old baba held out in front like Exhibit A. I gathered from the storm of Polish that he had refused to drink the sugar water they were trying to give him so he was being given back to Mama in disgrace. that's ma boy.)

Have you bought your wife a rubber ring to sit on, yet? And bought the witch hazel? (cream, wipes, etc).

Re: Childbirth Poland

" I hope you don't have too many ideas about this child-rearing process because there are a few differences between here and everywhere else "

What differences?

You were right about the rough washing under the tap. What else?

I couldn't find an inflable rubber ring, so I bought a neck cushion instead. Do u think that will do.

Collecting at lunch-time.

She tells me we have to go to a pharmacy on the way home.

Re: Childbirth Poland

no rubber rings? have you tried one of those shops which sell wheelchairs, commodes and etc? [I know, I know, shopping in Poland involves running round like a headless chicken while shop assistants look at you as if you've asked for the head of their first-born]
If your wife is a little feather of a thing then what you have might do - I'm large, so I'd have squashed it flat. (Having said that I had sections both times so had other issues)

>What differences?
We'll get there later
Anyway, you probably won't notice - I had my first child in Vancouver and unwittingly soaked up a lot of stuff that doesn't fly here. e.g. my babies didn't wear socks or shoes until the weather forced me to consider frostbite (and a gaggle of little girls approached me timidly in the supermarket one day to ask me if my baby didn't have any socks ... they fled when i replied in boisterous English)
Neither of them got fruit-juice in a bottle, either. It seems essential here ... and might well be related to what seem (to me) very high rates of front-tooth decay ...
And VitD is only available here on prescription ... seems it takes a doctor to reliably read the leaflet and choose between 1 drop or 2 ...

Good luck with the home-bringing - and don't worry too much. babies are surprisingly resilient mentally - usually more than their parents. they won't remember the mistakes you make these first few weeks / days - so just be selfish, think of yourselves (all 3 of you) and build lots of happy memories. (otherwise known as "tell all unwanted visitors to leave the cooked meals at the door and s*d off home")

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The neck cushion worked fine.

The next hurdle I'm told will be registering an English and not Polish Christian name with the town hall.

That's tomorrow's job.

Does anybody have experience of this?

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Not directly, but people tell me that if one parent is foreign, and the name chosen isn't obscene or perjorative (I'd avoid 'Hugh') then there aren't any restrictions. Otherwise the name should be one recorded at the Ossolineum. There's still a good choice of names on the list, including some 'acceptable' foreign ones.

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It probably very much depends on the town hall or even the individual registrar. We also went with international rather than Polish names, and had no problems whatsoever with registering two non-Polish names. His first name is almost unknown in Poland, and it was accepted without question. The register just asked if it is spelt as it sounds. The middle name is from German roots, and I've come across a few older Poles with the name.

Make sure you bring your passport alonmg with you to the registry office. The whole process cost us just 5zł (I think).

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English first names? We did it 4 years ago and didn't have any problems. Not even when the 2 English first names get pasted up beside an obviously Polish family name :D
That was up here in the north, but not 'in town' - we live out in a country gmina.

If you want to be 'careful', you can either kiss the lady's hand first, or bring her a flower (to help her join your celebration, of course). I've seen slab-chested mountains of LetMeSayNoOneMoreTime-ness melt at that treatment.

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Dirty grey understaffed hospital?

Are you sure that you were not in the UK?
We had our little girl in Tunbridge wells Pembury hospital (same as Varsovian I noticed)
Couldnt fault the staff - but the maternity unit was filthy - seriously.Richest town in the UK as well.
I am originally from scandinavia, hospitals there look like space ships. Brand new shiny equipment,and so clean.
But there are problems there too.They are sterile souless places. And it does affect patients recovery.
I know this because I got to know some Finnish nurses who worked at Pembury hospital.
Easy to knock the hospital.But when you find out how much they get paid (cant even begin to think how much
Polish medical staff earn)They earn my respect.

At the end of the day - if your child is born healthy and the mother is OK - well, life is not so bad.

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I must admit that the photo of the Polish delivery room looks very nice. Modern. Clean. Not even in a big city.

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Hello again,

One thing that I have noticed since having our child is that in Poland or Finland children are dressed up very warmly (regardless of the time of year or temperature)
In fact if your baby isn't wrapped up in 20 layers, old ladies will "tut tut" when thay see a baby without a hat in +30 C.
In the UK on the otherhand the opposite is true. You see mothers dressed up in hats scarves and winter coats, but their kids haven't even got socks or a coat on. (Gets them used to UK houses I suppose - buts thats a different topic!)
Also poor little schoolboys wearing shorts in mid winter - "it never did me any harm, made me what I am today!". English fathers attitude.

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"The middle name is from German roots, and I've come across a few older Poles with the name."

My girl's grandfather is 100% Polish and called Adolf . It's on the official list of approved names in Poland.

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>One thing that I have noticed since having our child is that in Poland or Finland children are dressed up very warmly (regardless of the time of year or temperature)

oh yes!!!
i'm bringing my kids up 'cold' and they're doing just fine. but it's hard on the locals

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Stressed mole-rats hold clues to human infertility

LONDON (Reuters) - A bizarre hairless rodent living underground in Africa may offer clues about the links between stress and human infertility, scientists said on Monday.

Stressed-out mole-rats become infertile after constant bullying by the colony's "queen", the only female to reproduce. But this infertility is reversible and when the queen dies, a previously non-breeding female quickly takes her place.

Chris Faulkes, a biologist at the University of London, believes the animals' behaviour patterns translate into suppression of certain fertility hormones and understanding the process could help explain stress-related infertility in humans.

"Similar things might be happening in humans," he said in a telephone interview. "It's likely that it is all acting on similar pathways in the brain."

Stress has long been known to be an important factor in infertility in both women and men -- but working out why is a challenge.

Faulkes, who is presenting his mole-rat research at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Lyon, France, is convinced animals can provide part of the answer.

The example of the subterranean rodent, which lives in colonies of between 100 and 300 animals, is extreme and the ability of the mole-rat queen to dominate other individuals by shoving them around is unusual.

But the blind creatures are far from alone in managing fertility within a social group. Other creatures exhibiting socially-induced reproductive suppression include primates like marmosets and tamarins, mongooses, and members of the dog family, such as wolves and jackals.

In the case of the mole-rats, it appears that ovulatory cycles in females are suppressed by reduction of luteinising and follicle stimulating hormones, while testosterone and sperm count levels fall in non-breeding males.

Faulkes and his colleagues are also researching the role that genes may play in different forms of social bonding and mating patterns.

"By making careful comparisons with model species like mole-rats, we may be able to tease apart the relative contribution of genes, environment, upbringing and culture to complex social behaviour in our own species," he said