Giving Birth in Russia Part 1

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Imagine that you are staying in a very old hospital. The doctors are serious, the nurses stern. The facilities are the bare minimum needed during your hardest time of labor. This might make you think twice about getting pregnant in Russia. But, wait…

Is this the description of a hospital you get from Hollywood movies? 

If it is, please simply turn your television off and find more reliable sources!

Most of the hospitals spread throughout much of the cities were built during the Soviet era, which will make you judge at first glance that the hospital is just «old»; not fashionable, not looking like the modern, sophisticated hospitals in the movies. However, it is worth noting that after many renovations, you might change your mind — but only after you enter the hospital. I have no idea why most of them were renovated internally, but left the facades as they were before.

This was mine

Again, it depends on where you live. If you live in a small remote Russian town, of course the facilities, the building, and the medical workers won’t be as good as you might find in the larger cities (like any other countries around the world).

Basically, there are two options which you can choose, especially if you are a foreigner with temporary or permanent living status.

So, which one will you choose?

To make sure that everything will be okay, smooth, and without any difficulties during my most precious moment, I decided to use DMS as this was my first time dealing with hospitals in Russia. Maybe, at some point in the future, I would use OMS as my first option.

Despite its price, DMS is the safest option for people who hate bureaucracy. Yeah, in Russia, you need to sign a hundred forms just to, for example, get your cholesterol level checked in a local lab. So, you don’t need to imagine how many forms you have to sign or how many institutions you need to visit before you finally get OMS, especially if you haven’t obtained your temporary/permanent living status. Don’t even dream about it, dear. 

Another reason to use DMS is if your skill in the Russian language is lower than everybody’s expectations. I guess, when you pay, you get extra services, such as free medical translation, maybe? I, myself, haven’t tried it yet.

Basically, there are plenty of choices available if we are talking about a roddom or maternity hospital in Moscow (or in other big cities in Russia). It all depends on your location, budget, time, and preference. You can ask for recommendations from friends or acquaintances who may have used their services. Or, if you want to make sure or convince yourself that your acquaintances didn’t lie or exaggerate how good the service they got there was, just check the feedback on the internet. I did both. Everybody agrees that the hospital I chose was good, the service wasn’t so bad, and the doctors were professional and reliable. But, what was the reality? 

Due to my location, which is not so strategic, I used two doctors during my pregnancy. One in a medium-size clinic not so far from my house, and another in the maternity hospital where I planned to give birth. I don’t know how it works in other countries, but here in Russia, you can go to maternity hospital only after 35 weeks pregnancy and sign the contract with them. In Indonesia, frankly speaking, I have never heard such a thing. As I remember, everything is easier for expectant mothers. Based on what I heard from my friends who gave birth in Indonesia, they could easily move to other hospitals or visit other doctors without needing to wait until 35 weeks. But, that’s Russia, whose principal is: ‘If you can make it more complicated, why do you need to make it easier?’ 

Everything has its own pros and cons. If, like I said before, in Indonesia everything is easy and in Russia everything is more complicated, we count that as a con; if we are talking about the pros, then it’s the other way around. I have never been an expectant mother before, let alone in Indonesia. Yet, a little bird told me that the checking is quite standard and, of course, if you expect more, payment is required. It is undeniably unfair to compare Indonesia and Russia, as we have a less developed healthcare system. In my homeland, midwives are still popular among expectant mothers, while in Russia, in Moscow especially, I hardly heard about them.

So, how was the medical check up going in Russia? It is not the first time I heard the locals complaining about “how meticulous the doctors are here” or “how long the process will be if you suddenly decide to visit a doctor”. As an example, if you have a headache and take a decision to check what is wrong with your head there, then please don’t lose your patience if your doctor sends you for an MRI, to a neurologist, or any other specialists they may have.

And that has been proved by myself… Despite any complaints you may hear, the check up is really thorough. From month one, you will be directed to have a full medical check up, starting from the oculist all the way up to the therapist, just to make sure they don’t miss anything about you or your baby inside your tummy. Is it good? Certainly, it is great, especially if you use OMS. If not? Don’t worry, even though you have to pay, the cost for one visit to a specialist ranges from 3,000 to 4,000 rubles, which is in USD is around $41.

Generally, the standard medical check up for pregnant women in Russia includes a visit to an ophthalmologist, dentist, otorhinolaryngologist, therapist, and other specialists based on your needs if they suddenly find out that you need an additional check up. Those are the first standard check ups until around 23 weeks. After that, you will also get a routine blood or urine check every week, EKG, blood pressure, weight, a consultation with your doctor, and so forth.

And suddenly I needed to be hospitalised for a few days…
to be continued

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