Sunday, September 07, 2008

Birth options in Serbia

A woman emailed me for information on midwives or birth support in Serbia. Can anyone help with this? She wrote to me:

I have a friend due in about 3 months who is in Serbia (her birthplace) and the hospitals there are about as corrupt and brutal as they get. She's terrified. This is her first baby though, and she has also had a fibroid that's been of concern, so she's also unsure of what else she can do.

Do you know any resources that would help her find some midwives or at least some good birth support of any kind? They probably won't allow a doula or even her husband inside the hospital unless she bribes them--it's pretty nightmarish there. But I was hoping there might be some international group that could help her in any way.

I already found what I could through the International Confederation of Midwives, but there is no one listed in Serbia itself. My friend is actually in Belgrade proper; she's a Serbian citizen, her husband is American.


  1. This poor woman. What a nightmare. I wish I knew how to help her. I feel so bad for women all around the world with poor healthcare. I also worry about them contracting something in a hospital like that. I wonder where her fibroid is? Most of the time it is not a huge deal but having a medical professional look at it would be nice.

  2. While I'm not familiar with how fibroids effect labor and delivery... What are they considering though? Out of hospital birth (how far would they travel to a birth site)? Home labor with last minute check-in? They might try emailing Andrea at She is a Hungarian home birth midwife (U.S. trained). Perhaps she knows a doula in Szeged, in southern Hungary who is willing to travel the 200 miles to Belgrade. There are alternative options within Hungary, too.

  3. I know the name of an IBCLC that lives in Romania that might be able to help. I believe she may speak the Hungarian language, and is near the border of Romania/Hungary. I also know that LLL has a page on Serbia here: The reason I suggest contacting LCs or LLL is that many times, people in the field of lactation know resources for natural birth support from the grapevine. Let me know if you need the name of the IBCLC.

  4. (I must be tired; I read "Siberia" and then wondered why you say she's in Belgrade...).
    So often we hear how horrible it is in the we assume the rest of the world has it good. Although I feel bad for her and others, I suppose some solace can be taken, knowing that cookies can be a good enough bribe here.
    Could she not come to the States?
    I know of a woman who found out during emergancy (truely) surgery that she had a fibroid over her cervix. One of those, "Do everything right" stories that still end up horrible :(

  5. Wow, I hope she can find some helpful resources. On a personal note, Thank you for the link--I'm really excited to explore that crockpot blog (oh, so fun to say). Ben has an interview with ASA tomorrow.

  6. Rixa, please keep us updated!
    TracyKM, re: the rest of the world... I've gotten into trouble in the past for saying that really, U.S. women don't have it *so* bad, comparatively speaking. Our 'bad' is bad compared to this country's potential. Things could and should be much better. Or, at the very least, the same outcomes could be achieved for much cheaper (and use the savings for paid maternity leave for example?) Good point about the cookies :) I too understood corrupt to mean that in Serbian hospitals, you probably have to pay hefty cash bribes to get treated at all. I understood brutal to mean physical violence, not the verbal callousness we rightly condemn here. Ugh. The next level of bad.

  7. Hey, Rixa, thank you for posting this. My friend found a midwife, as she just told me. She is still worried about a homebirth due to her fibroid, so she is going to the hospital, but has found that she and her husband have enough money to bribe them into letting the midwife and her husband stay in the room.

    I still don't envy her the experience, and she might not even have a private room, but it's certainly better than being alone. I've passed as much good birthing information along as I can, and aside from the fibroid, she's very healthy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    She's a tough lady, she's grown up with this system, though her American husband is having a hard time dealing with it. So a lot of my prayers go to him too.

    I'll come back and let ya'll know how the birth went in a few months!

  8. Good--please do keep me updated. You have probably already suggested this, but I'd definitely encourage her to stay at home as long as possible. Seems like the longer she's in her own territory, the less stressful it would be, especially in a more hostile setting like the one she will be facing.

  9. Hi. I certainly stumbled across your blog (looking for a lady who hand knits scarves here in Serbia). I am happy I did though. I am not sure if your friend has had her baby yet, but I am an American and a certified labor doula (CAPPA) who lives in Belgrade. I had an unmedicated birth with my 3 yr old son in the States. I am not sure if can help, but I would be happy to give you my contact info for her if so. My email is Take care! Serena

  10. Hi,

    I spotted this post & I'm aware that the lady in question would have birthed her little one some time ago now.

    I just wanted to say I'm a British Registered Midwife hoping to travel around Europe with my teenage daughter from about May 2013. If anyone is interested in discussing care options or having me visit you please get in touch at


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