A good start is important

Investments in raising care standards in all maternity hospitals in Croatia

Marina Knežević Barišić
Mamu Dariju i Zoju, njezinu treću djevojčicu
UNICEF/Knežević Barišić
09 September 2019

We met mum Darija and Zoja, her third baby girl, at the maternity ward of University Hospital “Sestre milosrdnice” in Zagreb, also popularly known as Vinogradska. Her memories of giving birth were still fresh because she held Zoja in her arms for the first time less than three days previously. Although this is Darija’s third birth, there is always a certain degree of worry, and she believes that the support provided by the staff is most important.

“In those moments, we are vulnerable and no matter how much experience we have, it is always as if it is the first time and there is also a degree of fear and uncertainty… The way the staff treat us is very important here, and also that the labour and delivery nurse encourages us and helps us,” says Darija, and adds that the labour and delivery nurse during the process means a more pleasant and less painful delivery.

In addition to the support from trained medical staff, various types of equipment can also make the delivery and the days that follow easier on mothers (birthing chairs, wireless CTG monitoring, and sidecar cots for post CS births). Many mothers remember giving birth by the exhausting method of lying on their left side because of the CTG, a device that enables the recording of the foetal heartbeat and uterine contractions.

Medicinska sestra stoji do Zoju i njenu mami Dariju
UNICEF/Knežević Barišić

“It is very restricting because women cannot move, and the position is very uncomfortable. If we had a wireless CTG, it would enable mothers to give birth with greater opportunity for movement, which makes the delivery much more comfortable, natural and less painful,” says the head of the Institute of Obstetrics, Senka Sabolović Rudman, MSc.

It is in the nature of man to move, and this is especially so for women during childbirth.

“It is important that women are comfortable during childbirth. The need to move during contractions is natural, because the force of gravity helps smooth things along, to make pain easier to bear,” says the experienced head labour and delivery nurse Blaženka Sumpor, adding that she hopes that more women will decide to use birthing chairs in the future as it makes for a much easier and comfortable delivery for the woman, but also for the baby.

“Investments in equipment are important to us for two reasons. The first is for the advances in technology and the second that our equipment wears and tears quickly because it is in use practically 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” says Prof. Krunoslav Kuna, DSc, head of the Clinic for Gynaecology and Obstetrics, adding that UNICEF’s donation will help more women have a positive experience of childbirth.

Giving birth is something that every woman remembers for life. “It is very important to make it an empowering and beautiful experience for the woman. Childbirth, and those few days in hospital, are the right time to create an initial feeling of safety, which then follows us further on. If our experience is good, if we have a good start, we will find it emotionally easier, too, and breastfeeding is also easier then. That is why a good start is important,” mom Darija reminds us. Her memories of childbirth are beautiful ones.