Birth & Midwifery in Hungary
Resources for parents and practitioners
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Some of the following sites may not be in English; an online translator may be useful.
Birth Situation Room Report
Midwifery Today Country Contact*
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Andrea Noll, Nóra Schimcsig and Gabriella Nagy
Andrea Noll is a board member and international contact coordinator for the Hungarian Association of Midwives, www.midwives.hu. She is also Midwifery Today's country contact for Hungary. Andrea is currently in the process of translating Anne Frye's Holistic Midwifery into Hungarian. She is founding co-editor of Bábák, szülésznok, the Hungarian Association's midwifery magazine. She's currently studying at the Maternidad La Luz midwifery school in El Paso, Texas. On her graduation and return to Hungary (planned for March 2005), she will be the first modern-age midwife of her country with out-of-hospital training.
Nóra Schimcsig is a doula, HBCE, activist and mom. She speaks English, German fluently besides Hungarian.
Update on Birth in Hungary
Between 1990 and 2011 existing homebirth practices were alegal. The recent homebirth regulations were introduced in April 2011 and posed a big challenge to midwives to qualify for the necessary licences to attend homebirths. The first licensed midwifery service provider was finally set up in March 2012. Of course many more practicing midwives would need to receive licences if their services are to cover most of the country.
Meanwhile the issue of criminalization—a heritage from those 20 years when homebirth was unregulated—remains a real and constant threat. The internationally famous case of Dr. Ágnes Geréb is a scandalous example of how the judiciary system in Hungary has been unable to follow modern developments in midwifery services. In particular the fact nowadays it is professional boards of midwives who investigate midwifery led birth incidents and not police and criminal prosecution services.
In December, 2010 the European Court of Human Rights passed a judgment in favor of a Hungarian mother declaring that women have their right to choose the place of birth and that it is a safe and private environment for the mother and child.
On May 31 – June 1, in The Hague there will be an international conference based on this decision since it is now an important precedent case for many countries just as the outcome of the Dr. Geréb case will be a major precedent case for the Central and East European region and possibly beyond on this highly contentious issue of the criminalization of midwives.
— Gabriella Nagy
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union Press Release: Victory in Strasbourg for the cause of home birth! (Ternovsky Judgment) (opens a PDF)