For years I’ve had this blog named “birthinukraine” but I’ve posted very little about actual births in Ukraine. Now that I’ve seen a few more “Ukrainian” births, I’m in a stage where I can come up with some general observations about cultural differences in birth that I’d like to share in a series of posts.
This post will address the medical personnel involved in birth. This is the same in all births I’ve seen for any couple.
The system I’m familiar with (American/European), either an obstetrician or midwife attends a birth. Nurses do things like monitoring fetal heart tones, checking vaginal dilation, etc. And the doctor or midwife enters usually at the end to catch the baby, get the placenta, and suture. (This is very simplistic, I know.)
Here it’s a little different. During the labor, the obstetrician comes in periodically to check the fetal heart tones and check cervical dilation. He/She is also the one who breaks the water.
(Note: I’m not saying any of these interventions are healthy or normal; but in institutional birth here, it is regular practice.)
Once the mom is pushing, a second careprovider enters the scene–this woman (I’ve never seen a man in this role) is generally translated as “midwife,” though it’s not really an accurate translation. Her job is to get the baby and the placenta out. (I will talk about this process in a separate post.) Usually the doctor is in charge still, ultimately, so he and the midwife communicate about what’s going on at various points of the birth.
If there are tears, the obstetrician sutures. If a piece of placenta or membrane is retained, the obstetrician deals with it.
The midwife later helps to initiate breastfeeding.
Also, there is a woman who comes in whose job it is to clean up the mess. After the ob and mw are done with the mom and baby part, she cleans up, wipes the mom’s legs, and fixes the bed back to normal.
Usually a pediatricians also comes in along with the midwife to observe the birth of the baby. She (He?) checks the baby soon after birth. Some do this just glancing over the baby and not taking baby from the mom. Others take the baby to the exam table for a while to do all this.
Sometimes what I suppose are students are also present. Student midwives, student pediatricians, etc. I’ve seen up to about 7 people come into the room for the birth.
So these are the main personnel involved in birth in a Ukrainian birth house, from my observations.