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What to expect if you’re having a baby in Norway

From pregnancy tests to postpartum appointments here's what you need to know if you are expecting a baby in Norway.

What to expect if you're having a baby in Norway
Here's what to expect when you are expecting. Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

The early days

If you are unsure and think you may be pregnant, you can take a graviditetest, or a “pregnancy test”. Pregnancy tests can be found at your local pharmacy, as well as in many grocery stores. Their cost varies depending on the brand you choose. But a common one sold in the shops is around 85 kroner (about 8 euro). You can also choose to make an appointment with your doctor to find out by taking a blood or urine test at their office. 

Note that if your Norwegian and English skills are still at a basic level, don’t take the chance and not be able to fully understand the useful information you will learn at these appointments. You have the right to request an interpreter to come with you or speak over the phone at all of your doctor’s appointments. You just need to let your doctor or midwife know in advance first so they can schedule one. 

Putting your health first

For many expectant families, adding another mouth to feed means added costs. Luckily, in Norway you might find these costs to be surprisingly manageable. Starting with your own health as a soon to be mother. If you are registered to be a part of Norway’s National Healthcare Scheme, medical appointments relating to pregnancy are free of charge. This includes the many checkups with your fastlege or “GP”. And in addition, the possible unplanned trips to your doctor or hospital you may make during the 40 weeks of pregnancy. 

You can expect regular check-ups with doctors throughout your pregnancy. Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexels

These pregnancy related appointments with your GP or midwife are valuable in checking up on the health of both you and your baby. And if you’ve already started having a bit of baby brain and are becoming more forgetful, then bring a notebook and a pen. Because you will also learn a lot of practical information about your health and what to expect as your belly grows at these appointments. 

If you get sick while pregnant — whether it is pregnancy related or just a common cold — you can apply for paid sick leave. But first you must see your midwife or GP. Together you will decide the appropriate amount of time off you should take. It is also a requirement of your employer to adjust what they can at work (within reason) for expectant mothers to be able to do their job as comfortably as possible. 

What is the Helsestasjon?

The helsestasjon or “child health clinic” is where new parents will take all follow-up appointments post giving birth. The clinic is open to all children from the ages of 0 to 5. It employs doctors, nurses, and specialists. It is also where children get their required vaccines and follow-ups done on any mental or physical health-related concerns. 

The children’s health clinic is also a place for new mothers to meet other new mothers. The clinic arranges a networking meeting called a barselgruppe. Barselgrupper or “ maternity groups” are made with women who have given birth around the same time you have, and who live in the same area. It is not a mandatory meeting. Though it is absolutely worth considering if you are feeling lonely or overwhelmed during this new phase of life. 

You can find out more about what the clinic has to offer new parents here

At the hospital

The check-ups you’ve had with your GP or midwife throughout your pregnancy also include making a birth plan. Of course, it’s impossible to know if you will be able to carry out your plan as expected. But making such a plan with your GP or Midwife includes important information about hospital rules and what to expect when you arrive at the hospital.  

Before you make your way to the hospital, give the labour and delivery unit a call to let them know you are coming. Once you have arrived and are declared to be in active labor, you are assigned a room and a midwife. Doctors, extra hands, and specialists usually appear as you near the labouring period and are actually ready to give birth, or if there is a sudden complication.

Depending on the hospital’s capacity, you may be given a private room to rest and heal right after giving birth. Or you may be assigned a room  with one or two other new mothers. 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, it would be smart to call the hospital you are planning on giving birth in to find out what their limitations are about having family in the birthing room. And information about visiting regulations afterwards. 

All newborn babies are examined by a doctor. Before you leave the hospital, your baby will be screened for hearing defects, and a number of other diseases. As a new mother, you will also be given a physical exam and plenty of time to talk with a nurse or doctor about any concerns you may have. 

Your newborn will be screened for any potential health problems. Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. from Pexels.

The time you spend in the hospital is guaranteed to feel like a foggy dream. Which is understandable as there is a lot of emotion, adrenaline, and new impressions being made during this time. If you have any questions about your stay in the hospital, you are encouraged before you leave the hospital to make contact with your midwife and the doctor who was present during the time of birth. You can also look at a digitally medical review of your stay through your patient journal

Registering the birth

When a baby is born in Norway, the hospital reports the birth to the Norwegian Tax Administration. The Norwegian Tax Administration then assigns the baby a Norwegian identification number and sends a request to the mother to choose a name for the child. 

After the child’s name has been registered, the mother and father/partner will receive the confirmation in their Altinn inbox (a digital mailbox for government and business related forms). 

If you and the father/partner of the newborn are not Norwegian citizens, you must apply for a residence permit for your baby as soon as possible.

Helpful information worth knowing about giving birth in Norway

  • When you are far along enough in your pregnancy to start going to regular check-ups, you can choose if you would like to see your regular GP or a midwife for these appointments.
  • Most women in Norway choose to give birth in a hospital. You can choose to do a homebirth if you are more comfortable. Be sure to schedule it with your midwife first.
  • The mother can choose which hospital you would like to give birth in. In fact, it is one of the questions your GP will ask you when you go to your first pregnancy related appointment. Your GP will fill out the hospital choice request for you and send it to the necessary people. You will then receive either an acceptance in the mail or a call from your GP letting you know that your first choice isn’t available.
  • After giving birth, a home nurse who works with the child health care clinic will be assigned to make a home visit. This is so that new moms don’t have to travel to see a medical professional. The home nurse brings a scale so that they can weigh the baby. In addition, they will also bring additional informational pamphlets for the family and answer any follow-up questions you have about postpartum healing and breastfeeding.
  • In Norway, pregnancy leave starts three weeks before your expected due date. If you give birth before or after the expected date, your leave will be automatically adjusted by NAV and you will receive notice via mail. 

Maternity/Paternity leave 

You are entitled to maternity benefits if you have been in paid employment in Norway outside your home for at least six of the last ten months before you give birth. 

If you are entitled to maternity leave, you can choose between 15 weeks at a benefit rate of 100 per cent parental benefit. Or 19 weeks at a benefit rate of 80 per cent parental benefit.

If you and your partner both qualify for parental leave, you are allowed to split up a joint period of 16 weeks at a benefit rate of 100 per cent parental benefit. Or 18 weeks at a benefit rate of 80 per cent parental benefit as you see fit. Note that these weeks do not include the three additional paid weeks the mother gets to take before the baby’s arrival.  

Make sure you know your parental rights so you can make the most of parental leave. Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

You must take your parental leave before your child turns three or before you have another child. There is a lot of flexibility given between the mother and father/partner on when and how they can divide up their leave. Though it is a requirement that the mother takes the first 6 weeks of leave after the baby is born.

Norway’s focus on family life and a secure society for children is reflected in many of their laws and benefits. This includes a very generous maternity and paternity leave. For a full overview over how much you as the mother and father/partner are entitled to, look here

Pregnancy related vocabulary 

gravid – pregnant 

termin due date

blodtrykk – blood pressure 

Jordmor – midwife 


vekt weight

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New laws: What you need to know about owning a dog in Norway 

Norway’s parliament has agreed on a proposal which will put more responsibility on dog owners. Here’s what else you need to know about owning a pooch in the Scandinavian country.

New laws: What you need to know about owning a dog in Norway 

On Wednesday, Norway’s parliament agreed on several proposed law changes to Norway’s Dog Act which owners will need to be aware of. 

The tightening of the act will see more responsibility put on owners. Under the changes to the act, owners will be responsible for ensuring that dogs are prevented from being put into situations where they could harm people, other animals, property, or things. 

Owners will also be required to have the necessary competence and knowledge of the dog’s needs, breed and natural instincts and ensure the dog is adequately trained. 

The decision to destroy dogs that attack people or other animals will still lie with the police. The responsibility for paying kennel fees if the dog is seized will remain with the owner, something the Norwegian Kennel Club is critical of, public broadcaster NRK writes

However, the kennel club did welcome the changes, which it believes will see dogs better cared for by owners than before. 

This isn’t the only law pet owners need to be aware of though 

Bringing a dog to Norway 

You can bring a dog to Norway from another country, but there are several entry requirements. Dogs needing to have a microchip, rabies vaccinations and tapeworm treatments are among the main ones. The rules will differ whether the pet comes from inside or outside the EU. 

Typically, hounds from outside the EU will need a health certificate, whereas animals from inside the EU will require a pet passport. Pets brought to Norway from other countries need to be at least three-months-old. 

For a complete overview of the rules that apply to you, you should check in with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority

Certain breeds are banned

It is against the law to own certain breeds that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority considers dangerous. These are: 

  • The Pit Bull Terrier 
  • The American Staffordshire Terrier 
  • The Fila Brasileiro 
  • The Tonso Inu 
  • The Dogo Argentino 
  • The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog 

Wolf-dog hybrids and dogs bred and trained specifically for protection are also banned. The police will either deport dogs it deems dangerous or destroy them. 

In a recent ruling, the Oslo district court banned the breeding of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and English Bulldogs over concerns that the distinctive features they are known for causes them suffering. 

READ MORE: Norway bans breeding of bulldogs and cavaliers

Leash laws

Also in the Dog Act is the “leash law”. This sets out when dogs should be on a lead and where. From the beginning of April until August 20th, dogs must be kept leashed unless in a dog park. 

The rule is to protect local wildlife during the birthing, nesting and mating seasons. 

Some municipalities have rules about keeping dogs on a lead in housing areas, and others have regulations about animals being leashed while cross country skiing in areas with prepped tracks. 

The most likely rule for being caught breaking the leash law will be a reminder to keep your dog on a lead or a fine.