English maternity clinic guide for immigrants


Finnish maternity, child health and family planning clinic, “neuvola,” turns 100 this year. “Neuvola” is an important health service for pregnant families living in Finland. For example, in Turku there are over 10 % speakers of another language than Finnish. That means that there is a need for guides in other languages than Finnish in health care.

The immigrants apply for health services later than indigenous population during pregnancy and the maternity clinic services are unfamiliar to immigrants. Commissioner needed a guide in English about the counseling services for immigrants to clarify the purpose of the clinic.

The intention of the guide was to clarify the purpose and importance of the maternity clinic

Maternity clinic service in Finland is a unique system. The intention of maternity clinics is to monitor pregnancy from the beginning to the end. During the checkups a public health nurse will check mothers’ weight, blood pressure, hemoglobin and urine sample, examine baby´s position in the womb and listen baby´s heartbeat. These examinations will give crucial information about the wellbeing of the mother and the baby and monitor baby´s growth through the pregnancy. An important topic is also to discuss about mother´s and the whole family’s physical and mental health and lifestyle.

Equally essential meaning of the clinic is to support families growth towards being a parent and a baby family. The goal is also to promote the health and safety of the child´s growth environment, promote public health and prevent disturbances in pregnancy. Maternity clinics also offer family training for becoming parents with different themes, for example birth, breastfeeding, baby care, early interaction etc.

The contents of the maternity clinic:

Maternity clinic visits during pregnancy.

From the maternity clinic mother will also get a refer to the ultrasound and blood samples for the fetal screening. The purpose of the fetal screenings is to monitor chromosomal aberrations. The fetal screenings are optional.

The reproductive health of immigrants demands special attention

It´s crucial to get the immigrant to the maternity clinic because there are multiple challenges in the pregnancies and deliveries of immigrants, for example the difference in the epidemiology of diseases and risks, psychosocial and cultural factors and difficulties in communication. Also infant and maternal mortality is more common in mothers with migration background: the risk is even higher if the mother comes outside of Europe.

Part of the reason why immigrants apply for health services later is lack of understanding of the importance of monitoring pregnancy, poor civic skills, difficulties getting in the clinic or economic problems. Luckily the immigrants in Finland approve the services of maternity clinic. Having a child is a key area of life in every culture.

Maternity clinic service is free of charge

To get Kela´s maternity benefits: the maternity grant and the maternity package or cash benefit you need to visit the maternity clinic before the end of the fourth month of pregnancy. Immigrants can get the parental benefits if they have been health insured in Finland at least 180 days before the due date. If you´re coming from EU- or Eta-country, Switzerland, Great Britain or Israel the health insurance periods can also be calculated from there.

Maternity clinic services will continue until the follow-up inspection. The first appointment after birth is usually a week after discharge from hospital. The appointment can be at the maternity clinic, or the nurse can make a house call.

After birth it´s important to monitor baby´s growth and mother´s recovery from birth. The follow up inspection is around 5-12 weeks after pregnancy and made by a doctor or a nurse. After that the baby will continue visiting the clinic until the age of six.

Finnish “neuvola” turns 100 this year

Finnish “neuvola” consist nowadays of maternity, child health and family planning clinics. It is considered as the best Finnish invention of all times. The first “neuvola” was founded 1922 under Arvo Ylppö´s leadership in cooperation with The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare in Helsinki.

At first “neuvola” was only about child health services but the goal since the beginning was also to get the mothers covered by services. To get the mothers involved receiving maternity allowance was linked to a health check in “neuvola”.

Thanks to “neuvola” maternal and infant mortality is record low in Finland. Finnish public health nurses make relevant work promoting the health and well-being of families and are wide-ranging experts in the clinics.




City of Turku website. Available: https://www.turku.fi/sosiaali-ja-terveyspalvelut/terveyspalvelut/neuvolapalvelut/aitiysneuvola

Finnish institute of health and welfare. 2022. Available: https://thl.fi/fi/web/lapset-nuoret-ja-perheet/sote-palvelut/aitiys-ja-lastenneuvola/aitiysneuvola

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Turun kaupungin maahanmuuttajien kotouttamisohjelma 2018-2021. Available: https://ah.turku.fi/kv/2018/1203012x/Images/1662398.pdf

Äitiysavustus toi äidit neuvoloihin. 2017. Available: https://tutkimusblogi.kela.fi/arkisto/4173



Eva Jessika Saarinen
Public health nurse

Maika Kummel
PhD, Principal Lecturer
Turku UAS