Living in Finland

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When you are expecting a baby

If you think that you may be pregnant you can take a pregnancy test (raskaustesti). These tests can be bought, for example, at a pharmacy.

When you are pregnant:

  1. Contact the maternity clinic (äitiysneuvola) in your own municipality.
  2. Have a medical examination before the end of your fourth month of pregnancy.
  3. Give your employer written notification at least two months before you begin your maternity leave.

Maternity clinic

A maternity clinic will provide you with guidance in all matters related to pregnancy, and information about various services offered by the society. The mother’s and foetus’s health are also monitored at the clinic. The maternity clinic services of your own municipality are free. If you have a municipality of residence (kotikunta) in Finland, you can use the services of a maternity clinic in your own municipality. You can find more information on the InfoFinland web page Municipality of residence in Finland.

Fathers are also welcome at these clinics. The clinic visits include discussions about the relationship between the father and mother, parenthood and the father’s role and responsibility as a parent.

Maternity clinics also organise antenatal and family classes for expectant mothers and fathers. Most Finnish fathers and mothers participate in these classes.

When necessary, the clinic nurse can ask an interpreter to be with you at the maternity clinic. The interpreter must be an adult and therefore you cannot use your own child as an interpreter, if he or she is a minor.

All parents at a maternity clinic are given the handbook ‘We’re having a baby’, which has been produced by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos).

You should have your first medical examination before the end of your fourth month of pregnancy. The doctor or maternity clinic will then provide you with a certificate confirming your pregnancy. You will need this when applying for a maternity grant (äitiysavustus) and maternity allowance (äitiysraha) from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela). Find out more on the InfoFinland web page Support for pregnant women.

The website of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (Sosiaali- ja terveysministeriö) provides an outline of maternity and child health clinics in Finland.

linkkiNational Institute for Health and Welfare:
The handbook "We're Having a Baby"(pdf, 1,46 Mt)Finnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Somali

linkkiMinistry of Social Affairs and Health:
Information on maternity and child health clinic servicesFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian

Pain and bleeding during pregnancy

A normal pregnancy includes some slight pain, caused by the growth of the womb. If you are unsure whether the pain you are feeling is normal, ask for advice at your own maternity clinic. If the pain is severe or you are bleeding, contact the hospital. You will be invited to an examination, if it is necessary. If the situation is urgent, you do not need a referral.

Circumcision and pregnancy

If you have had a circumcision before your arrival in Finland, an opening operation (avausleikkaus) will be performed in connection with childbirth. The operation can also be performed during mid-pregnancy or before you become pregnant. The operation will ease childbirth and the examinations performed during pregnancy. It will be carried out at the hospital, and recovery usually takes 1-2 days. Ask for more information from the maternity clinic nurse.

Support for pregnant women

If you are covered by Finnish social security, you are entitled to various Kela benefits during and after pregnancy. Read more on the InfoFinland web pages Support for pregnant women and Benefits for a family after a child is born.

linkkiKela:
Electronic servicesFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiKela:
Contact information for officesFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiKela:
Electronic appointment bookingFinnish | Swedish | English

What do I do if I have no municipality of residence in Finland?

Contact a private clinic. The largest towns have several private doctors and some localities also have private maternity and child health clinics. Please take into consideration the fact that private health care is expensive. You cannot get a Finnish personal health insurance policy, unless you are covered by Finnish social security.

Are you expecting a baby in a difficult situation or alone?

If you are expecting a baby and you feel that you cannot cope by yourself, you can contact a mother and child home (ensikoti). Mother and child homes provide help with parenthood and life management. Ask your maternity and child health clinic for more information on the activities of mother and child homes. The services of a mother and child home are intended for those who have a municipality of residence in Finland. You will also need a referral from your municipal Social Services Department. You can find more information about the right to a municipality of residence on the InfoFinland web page Municipality of residence in Finland.

Are you considering abortion? For more information, go to the InfoFinland web page Abortion.

linkkiThe Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters:
Contact information for mother and child homesFinnish