Austerity Gone Wrong: Swedish Women Taught to Give Birth in Cars

Picturesque view of Vaxholm town in Sweden

Picturesque view of Vaxholm town in Sweden. Photo: Bengt Nyman.

Imagine giving birth in a car stuck in the middle of nowhere, on an empty road between snow drifts amid winter darkness with no mobile coverage. Although it might sound more like a survival film, this is a reality for those who live in vast and sparsely populated regions of northern Sweden.

The closure of a maternity ward in the town of Sollefteå in northern Sweden means that expectant mothers are to make a long and potentially perilous hundred-kilometer journey to the nearest maternity ward in either Örnsköldsvik or Sundsvall. To make up for this inconvenience and help pregnant women feel more secure, a course teaching expectant parents how to act if the process of child birth begins during a long car journey was launched.

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