Giving Birth in a Czech Hospital

Giving Birth in a Czech Hospital

With one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world, the Czech Republic ranks among the top EU countries for prenatal care. However, those committed to a patient-directed childbirth—in a less clinical setting—may need to venture outside of Prague (hospitals Vrchlabí and Neratovice offer alternative birthing options) or stay home: In 2012, the EU ruled that women have the right to choose where they deliver and that the state is obligated to help them carry out home births.  

Another current development related to giving birth in Prague is the recent waiving of the fee for fathers who wish to attend the delivery. Prior to April 2012, many hospitals were charging up to 1,000 CZK; currently fathers should be allowed into delivery rooms free of charge or for a nominal fee.  



Faced with overcrowding, Czech hospitals have, for some time, required in-person pre-registration for childbirth, with expecting mothers often facing long waits. The majority of Prague hospitals have recently switched to an online registery system, which has somewhat helped to alleviate this bureaucratic burden.   

The following breakdown of maternity wards was compiled using as its primary source information from Prague-based healthy parenting association Aperio. Though in Czech, the group’s website can easily be read via Google translate for further information on rates of induction, episiotomy, C-section, and other childbirth-related statistics and services. Aperio also offers prenatal classes in English.  

Note that to achieve the “Baby-Friendly” title, hospitals must adhere to the 10 specific steps to support breastfeeding. Despite the fact that only two Prague hospitals listed have been assigned this title, it should not be implied that the remaining hospitals do not provide lactation support or encourage breastfeeding.

Many foreigners from Western countries who give birth in Czech hospitals often cite the clinical furnishings, poor food, and staff’s cold bedside manner as top complaints. And yet improved services and more comfortable settings have become the norm in Prague; women planning on giving birth here shouldn’t let such concerns add to their anxieties.

Prague’s maternity hospitals are:

Hospital Na Bulovce Clinic of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Budínova 2, Prague 8
266 081 111
www.bulovka.cz
REGISTRY: Register in person from Tuesday until Thursday from 13:00–14:30 or on-line at week 14.   

The maternity ward at Bulovka was recently renovated. According to the hospital’s website, it has one of the shortest postpartum periods of hospitalization on average in the entire country. Tours of the hospital are given every Monday and Wednesday at 13:00. 

  • Births per year 2,171 (2011)
  • Pre-natal classes Yes
  • Cost of upgraded room 400–1,200 CZK/day
  • Family rooming-in Yes (3 rooms)
  • Rooming-in Yes (and partial rooming-in)
  • No. of beds in maternity ward 9 single premium, 2 double, 6 triple
  • Family members allowed in delivery Max. 2 people plus doula

  • Alternative pain management Massage, birthing ball, showers
  • Separate birthing room Yes 
  • Selection of maternal position No
  • Water birth No
  • Mother has active control over process No
  • Constant contact with baby after birth Yes
  • At-home visit from midwife Yes
  • Collection of cord blood Yes
  • Perinatal center No 

  • Baby-friendly hospital No
  • Possibility of VBAC Yes
  • Possibility of spontaneous breech Yes
  • Services for disabled patients No
  • Outpatient childbirth No
  • Psychological services Yes
  • Avg. length of  stay following normal birth 3–4 days

U Apolinář Obstetrics & Gynecology Clinic
Apolinářská 18, Prague 2
224 967 407
www.apolinar.cz
REGISTRY: Register in person or on-line at week 14.

U Apolináře is one of the oldest hospitals in Prague; an orphanage and clinic was established here in 1789. Considered one of the best hospitals in Prague for accommodating pre-term labor and women with circulatory problems. Visiting hours are somewhat restrictive, ending at 22:00. (No visitors allowed in triple rooms).

  • Births per year 4,986 (2008)
  • Pre-natal classes  Yes
  • Cost of upgraded room 500–1,000 CZK/day
  • Family rooming-in Yes (1 room)
  • Rooming-in Yes (and partial rooming-in)
  • No. of beds in maternity ward 4 single, 9 double, 13 triple
  • No. of family allowed in delivery room Max. 1 person plus doula
  • Alternative pain management Aromatherapy, ball, showers, hammock
  • Separate birthing room Yes
  • Selection of maternal position Yes
  • Water birth No
  • Mother has active control over birthing process No
  • Constant contact with baby after birth Yes
  • At-home visit from midwife Yes
  • Collection of cord blood Yes
  • Perinatal center Yes
  • Baby-friendly hospital No
  • Possibility of VBAC No
  • Possibility of spontaneous breech No
  • Services for disabled patients Yes
  • Outpatient childbirth No
  • Psychological services No
  • Avg. length of stay following normal birth 3–4 days


Thomayerova “Krč” University Hospital

Vídeňská 800, Prague 4
261 082 258
www.ftn.cz
REGISTRY: Register in person or via telephone at week 32.

One of two hospitals in Prague to have earned the WHO/UNICEF “Baby-Friendly” hospital designation and therefore no surprise that it is also home to the Czech Lactation League (Laktační Liga). Visiting hours are restricted and no one besides family may enter the shared rooms during the designated afternoon time.

  • Births per year 1,822 (2008)
  • Pre-natal classes Yes
  • Cost of upgraded room 700 CZK/day
  • Family rooming-in Yes (8 rooms)
  • Rooming-in Yes 
  • No. of beds in maternity ward 9 double, 4 triple
  • No. of family members allowed in delivery room 1–2 people max. including doula
  • Alternative pain management Showers, music
  • Separate birthing room Yes
  • Selection of maternal position Yes
  • Water birth No
  • Mother has active control over birthing process No
  • Continuous contact with baby after birth No
  • At-home visit from midwife No
  • Collection of cord blood Yes
  • Perinatal center Yes
  • Baby-friendly hospital Yes
  • Possibility of VBACNo
  • Possibility of spontaneous breech No
  • Services for disabled patients No
  • Outpatient childbirth No
  • Psychological services No
  • Avg. length of stay following normal birth 3–4 days


Podolí Institute for the Care of Mother and Child
Podolské nábřeží, Prague 10
296 511 111
www.upmd.cz
REGISTRY: Register electronically at week 14.

One of the most popular places to deliver in Prague, Podolí excels in high-risk pregnancies, caring for low birth-weight infants, and is one of the few hospitals in Prague with nurses on staff who can communicate in sign-language. Visitors are allowed in the rooms of mothers daily from 15:00 to 19:00.

  • Births per year 1,313 (2013)
  • Pre-natal classes Yes
  • Cost of upgraded room 500–1,700 CZK/day
  • Family rooming-in Yes (12 rooms)
  • Rooming-in Yes (in all rooms and partial rooming-in)
  • No. of beds on maternity ward 13 single, 10 double, 7 triple
  • No. of family members allowed in deliveryroom 2 people max.
  • Alternative pain management Showers, music, massage
  • Separate birthing room Yes
  • Selection of maternal position Yes
  • Water birth No
  • Mother has active control over birthing process No
  • Constant contact with babies after birth Yes
  • At-home visit from midwife No
  • Collection of cord blood Yes
  • Perinatal center Yes
  • Baby-friendly Hospital No
  • Possibility of VBAC No
  • Possibility of spontaneous breech No
  • Services for disabled No
  • Outpatient childbirth No
  • Psychological services No
  • Avg. length of stay following normal birth 4 days

Faculty Hospital Motol
V Úvalu 84, Prague 5
224 431 111
www.fnmotol.cz
Registry: Register in person only at week 14.

Motol Teaching Hospital is preferred by a number of expat moms for its English-speaking staff; well-known for its infant-trauma unit. Visitors are allowed in the rooms daily from 15:00 to 20:00.

  • Births per year 3,427 (2009)
  • Pre-natal classes No
  • Cost of upgraded room 1,000 CZK/day
  • Family rooming-in Yes (12 rooms)
  • Rooming-in Yes (in all rooms and partial rooming-in)
  • No. of beds on maternity ward 2 single, 15 double, and 3 triple
  • No. of family members allowed in delivery room 1 person plus doula
  • Alternative pain management Ball, shower, bath, aromatherapy
  • Separate birthing room Yes
  • Selection of maternal position Yes
  • Water birth No
  • Mother has active control over birthing process No
  • Constant contact with baby after birth No
  • At-home visit from midwife Yes
  • Collection of cord blood Yes
  • Perinatal center Yes
  • Baby-friendly hospital Yes
  • Possibility of VBAC No
  • Possibility of spontaneous breech No
  • Services for disabled Yes
  • Outpatient childbirth No
  • Psychological services Yes
  • Avg. length of stay following normal birth 3 days


Faculty Hospital Královské Vinohrady

Šrobárova 50, 100 34 Praha 10
267 161 111
www.fnkv.cz
REGISTRY: In person or via e-mail after week 14.

This smaller hospital has been known to accommodate birth plans and is repeatedly hailed as a good alternative when the busier hospitals are full. Visitors are allowed in rooms at any time. 

  • Births per year 1,368 (2008)
  • Pre-natal classes Yes
  • Cost of upgraded room 300–500 CZK/day
  • Family rooming-in Yes (2 singles, 1 double)
  • Rooming-in Yes (and partial rooming-in)
  • No. of beds on maternity ward 2 singles, 1 double, 2 triples, 1 shared room 
  • No. of family members in delivery room Max. 2 people
  • Alternative pain management Showers and massage
  • Separately birthing room No
  • Selection of maternal position Yes
  • Water birth No
  • Mother has active control over birthing process No
  • Continuous contact with baby after birth Yes
  • At-home visit from midwife No
  • Collection of cord blood Yes
  • Perinatal center No
  • Baby-friendly hospital No
  • Possibility of VBAC No
  • Possibility of spontaneous breech No
  • Services for disabled Yes
  • Outpatient childbirth No
  • Psychological services No
  • Avg. length of stay following normal birth 4–5 days

To discuss your experience giving birth in Prague hospitals or read about the experiences of other expat women, visit www.bumpsbabiesandtots.cz or www.kidsinprague.com and join each site’s Facebook group.

The Centre for Integration of Foreigners also provides free individual counseling and pamphlets for foreign moms-to-be in the Czech Republic. See also our article 10 Tips for Being Pregnant in Prague.

Did you deliver in a Czech hospital? How did you find the maternity ward? What advice would you give other women who plan on giving birth in a Prague hospital?

 


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