Birth & Midwifery in Croatia
Resources for parents and practitioners

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Birth Situation Room Report

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Birth/Midwifery

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Midwives Battle Medicalization in Croatia [July 2006]

Having a child in Croatia today is often hard, painful and humiliating for the woman. It is an attack on the physical integrity not only of the mother, but also of the child. The woman does not have the right to choose or speak; she must submit to the strict hospital protocols and medicalization of childbirth, as well as many unnecessary interventions.

The leading role of today’s midwife in Croatia is to implement the protocols of medicalized birth, which probably is one of the factors that has contributed to the loss of the profession and the inability of midwives to face birth without intervention.

Another important factor is the inability of today’s midwife to educate herself in Croatia and in that way to acquire the autonomy and knowledge necessary for independently leading the birth process. However, enabling every woman to have a physiological birth is the goal of every real midwife.

Letting nature take its course requires preparation and education. One must not be fooled—we cannot have natural birth in contemporary Croatian society if we do not take the steps that are necessary to make that happen, together, women and midwives.

Midwives from the Croatian Association of Midwives, Branch Rijeka, have gone the furthest in their endeavors and attitude to enable women to have the right to choose. In other hospitals only one way exists—high-intervention birth—because doctors consider it the safest way. Imagine! Women from Zagreb (the Croatian capital) travel to Rijeka to have waterbirth and natural birth without interventions!

Iva Podhorsky Storek and Barbara Finderle
excerpted from “Having a Child in Croatia”
Midwifery Today Issue 78