Pregnancy and childbirth in Norway

Mor med baby
Photographer
Yadid Levy
Here you can read about your rights in association with pregnancy and childbirth in Norway.

Pregnancy

If you live in Norway and are a member of the National Insurance Scheme, and you become pregnant, contact your General Practitioner (fastlegen) or a midwife at the Maternity and Child Health Care Centre (helsestasjon). Pregnancy services provided by the national health service are free of charge. Consultations offered during the pregnancy are voluntary.

Pregnancy check-ups

When you are pregnant, you are offered pregnancy check-ups. However, you may choose whether you want to go to a midwife at a Maternity and Child Health Care Centre, to a General Practitioner (GP), or to a private midwife/gynaecologist.

You are recommended to undergo the first check-up in weeks 6-12 with a GP or midwife. In addition, all pregnant women are offered an ultrasound scan around week 18 in the pregnancy. All tests and examinations are voluntary, and you are entitled to decline anything that the doctor or midwife suggests. However, you may not demand other or more examinations than those normally offered.

Working during the pregnancy

In Norway, pregnancy leave starts three weeks before the due date. According to the Work Environment Act, employers must make any necessary adjustments to your work if you are pregnant and you, for health reasons, cannot perform your normal work tasks.

Pregnancy benefit

Pregnancy benefit is paid to healthy, pregnant women who cannot continue to work during the pregnancy because this could involve a risk of harm to the foetus. You are only entitled to pregnancy benefit if you are a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme. The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, NAV, is responsible for payment of pregnancy benefit.

The birth and where to give birth

There is a free choice of hospital in Norway so, if you are pregnant, you can choose where you want to give birth, providing the maternity unit has sufficient capacity. You can discuss with your midwife or GP where you want to give birth. However, if there are complications during the pregnancy, you are advised to give birth at a hospital that has sufficient expertise, for example, one with a newborn infants ward. Planned home birth is not offered under the national health service in Norway, but women who wish to give birth at home may get help from a midwife.

After the birth

All newborn babies are examined by a doctor. The baby is screened for hearing defects and a number of diseases a short time after the birth.

During the course of the child’s first year, it is the health care centres that are responsible for monitoring the child, with checks of the child’s weight and development, vaccinations and health. This is free of charge. If you do not know which health care centre you should contact, check with the municipality in which you live.

National identity number, naming the child, and birth certificate

After the child is born, the hospital sends a notice of birth to the Norwegian Tax Administration (Skatteetaten), which then assigns the child a national identity number. This is an automatic procedure.

The Norwegian Tax Administration then sends a form to the child’s parents on which they submit the name of the child. In Norway the parent must notify the name of the child to the Norwegian Tax Administration no later than six months after the birth.

Once the child’s name has been registered by the Norwegian Tax Administration, a birth certificate is sent to the parents by post. This contains information about the child and when he/she was born, and any information about the parents.

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